Macra President Thomas Duffy highlights farmers’ Brexit plight

The new Macra President-elect and Vice-Presidents-elect with their supporters after last week’s announcement of election results.

The Brexit plight of intensive pig, poultry and mushroom farmers has been raised by Thomas Duffy from Virginia, Co Cavan, who was last week declared the 37th Macra na Feirme National President.

A dairy farmer and part-time agricultural adviser, Mr Duffy told the Irish Examiner that pig and poultry producers in his native county and in Monaghan are concerned regarding Brexit uncertainty.

“The biggest problem for poultry farmers and mushroom producers is a lot of those industries rely on long-term contracts.

“If we don’t know what is going to happen in six months, let alone three weeks, they can’t sign those contracts.

“They can’t establish their business, and because it’s such a very razor sharp market, many of the sectors are suffering.

Pig farmers are being even more negatively impacted, and we need to ensure the proper support, and that the poultry, pig and mushroom sectors are not forgotten,” he said.

Mr Duffy said these sectors are affected along similar lines as Finnish dairy farmers were after the Russian import ban on a range of European Union agricultural products in 2014.

He called on the Government to leverage any potential for EU funding similar to the aid directed to Finnish dairy farmers after the Russian ban.

“We need to see similar sort of aid being put in place to ensure that those farmers are able to overcome any short-term difficulties and ultimately have the support to go and look at longer-term markets.”

As Macra President, Mr Duffy promises to bring "the drive, passion and ambition that is required to ensure that in its 75th year and beyond, Macra will be the voice of rural youth and agriculture".

He has been a member of Ramor Macra in Co Cavan since he was 17. He is the current Macra National Chairman, and has served as Macra’s Ag Affairs Vice Chairperson.

Last week’s Macra election count resulted in Fergus O’Rourke from Carrigallen, Leitrim, being declared the North West Vice President.

Gerard Mahon from Tullamore, Offaly was elected as Leinster Vice President, and Sean Wallace from Donoughmore, Co Cork, is the new Munster Vice President.

The three new vice-presidents will take up their positions alongside president-elect, Tomas Duffy at Macra’s National AGM in Kildare on May 11, 2019.

Current National President James Healy, who presided over the election, said: “Congratulations to all candidates for the campaigns they ran. This was a great election, highlighting the best of Macra in terms of leadership, debate and public speaking”.

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