Town to host EU farm minister meet

KILLARNEY has been chosen to host an informal council meeting of the EU’s agriculture ministers from May 9-11 next year.

It will be the first occasion that farm ministers from the 10 new EU states will have full membership status at the council.

Ireland, which takes over the EU presidency for six months in January, is inviting ministers from all 25 member states to a number of informal council meetings.

The Farm Council will meet at Hotel Europe with Agriculture and Food Minister Joe Walsh presiding. More than 500 people are expected to attend.

Hosting the council will be a major logistical task.

Interpreters for up to seven languages will be provided by the EU and the Office of Public Works (OPW) will look after the infrastructure required, including sound-proof booths. A major security operation will be mounted by gardaí.

Bríd Farrell of the Department of Agriculture and Food said the agenda the council has not been decided. It is planned, however, to take the delegates on a scenic tour and maybe have a lunch at another venue so they get to see other parts of Kerry and west Cork.

Hotel Europe manager Michael Brennan said fantastic publicity should result for the hotel, Killarney and the area.

“The news coverage is bound to get our name out there. It’s a very prestigious event so we are delighted to be hosting it,” he said.

Jerry O’Grady of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said the May meeting is perfectly timed as it comes soon after the start of a 20-month celebration marking the anniversary of its foundation.

“Any opportunity for high-level exposure is more than welcome . Killarney, for a town of its size, has facilities which are second to none ” he said.

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