Brexit should not be seen as an opportunity to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020, according to MEP and European Parliament Vice-President, Mairead McGuinness.
Speaking as she officially opened the Tullamore Show and AIB National Livestock Show on Sunday, McGuinness acknowledged that while Brexit is a huge challenge it should not be mixed up with CAP reform. She also said that any radical change to the structure of CAP or cuts to the level of money available must be resisted.
Well over 60,000 people attended this year’s show on a dry, warm day as visitors soaked up the atmosphere enjoying everything from cookery demonstrations and fashion shows to livestock competitions, trade stands and live entertainment.
However, the absence of Government Ministers at the show was notable. Against that, the Chinese, Australian and Italian ambassadors were in attendance.
Farmers were in good spirits as they enjoyed a day off, however they could not fully escape the usual woes and talking points of Brexit, CAP reform, low incomes and falling cattle prices.
IFA President Joe Healy said: “The beef and livestock sector is the very heartbeat of rural Ireland and must be defended and secured in the face of major challenges”.
The IFA President warned that there are major challenges facing the Irish beef sector ranging from Brexit, the Mercosur trade deal, CAP reform to falling cattle prices and unacceptably low incomes for farmers.
“It has never been more important that our new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, along with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed show strong political leadership in defending the sector. Equally, every section of the industry from farmers to factories, and all others involved in the business, must play their part in a united and responsible way to secure a viable future for the sector,” Joe Healy said.
While show organisers were extremely happy with this year’s event they expressed a concern at provisional GAA proposals to bring the All Ireland hurling and football finals back to August. Freda Kinnarney, show secretary outlined that current proposals are for the All Ireland Football Final to take place on the last Sunday in August with the Hurling Final taking place two weeks earlier. “In a four Sunday August, our events [Tullamore show and All Ireland Hurling Final] would clash”, she explained. Freda said the Tullamore Show’s suggestion would be to hold the Hurling Final on the third Sunday in August with the Football Final two weeks later. “This would prevent two major rural based national events from clashing”.
Gerry Duffy, motivational speaker and endurance athlete spoke about the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance as part of the AIB ‘Shed Talk’ series. Gerry advised farmers to set aside time each day for exercise. Regular exercise will make you more productive and keep you in better shape physically and mentally, he said. Gerry also advised writing down your to-do/ jobs list at the start of each week and to plan each week prioritising the things that really need to be achieved that week. Simple things such as making a to-do list and regular exercise can take some of the stress out of farming.
The winning exhibitors in the main championships at the 2017 Tullamore Show & AIB National Livestock Show were as follows.
Eamonn McLoughney, Nenagh, Co Tipperary. Reserve: Eamonn McLoughney.
James Lambe, Castleblayney, Monaghan. Reserve: The Carter Family, Roscrea, Tipperary.
E&S Murphy, Blarney, Cork. Reserve: Garry Hurley, Arklow, Co Wicklow.
Senior Holstein-Friesian Cow In-milk:
Padraic Greenan Ardaghey, Monaghan. Reserve: Victor Jackson, Kiltegan, Wicklow.
Senior Holstein-Friesian Champion:
Philip and Linda Jones, Gorey, Wexford.
Padraic Greenan, Ardaghey, Monaghan.
Owen Hester, Castlerea, Roscommon. Reserve: James O’Grady, Scariff, Co Clare.
John Appelbe, Clonakilty, Co Cork. Reserve: Gerry McNamara, Ennis, Clare.
Garrett Behan, Portlaoise. Reserve: Peter & Marion O’Connell, Mallow, Cork.
Brendan Canning, Rosses Point, Co. Sligo.
Martin Ryan, Thurles, Tipperary.
Angela Kehoe, New Ross, Wexford. Reserve: Francis and Jennifer Donohoe, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.
Irish Moiled Cattle:
Seamus Holmes, Lifford, Donegal. Reserve: James White, Ballymitty, Wexford.
Albert De Cogan, Castlemartyr. Reserve: Albert De Cogan.
Conor Craig, Edgeworthstown, Longford. Reserve: John McEnroe, Oldcastle, Meath.
Tom Lawless, Roscrea, Tipperary. Reserve: Melvin Masterson, Enniscorthy, Wexford.
John Burke, Clarecastle, Ennis, Clare. Reserve: John Burke.
Declan Bell, Clarecastle, Clare. Reserve: Bernard Hunt, Gurteen, Sligo.
Michael Dullea, Drimoleague, Cork. Reserve: Michael Dullea.
COMMERCIAL SENIOR CATTLE
Young Stockperson of the Year (17 to 26 Years):
Rachel Moloney, Ardnacrusha, Clare.
Moyvalley Meats €2,000 Commercial Factory Bullock:
John Clyne, Lanesboro, Longford.
Dawn Meats €2,000 Factory Heifer Championship:
Owen O’Neill, Bagenalstown, Carlow.
Noel Fennessy, Castleconnell, Limerick.
Michael & Danielle Egan, Charlestown, Co Mayo.
Patrick Carty, Pigeons, Westmeath.
Joanne Gillivan, Moate, Westmeath.
Jane Grace, Roscrea, Tipperary.
Irish Draught Foal:
Patrick Carty, Pigeons, Westmeath.
Non-Thoroughbred 3 Year Gelding:
Katie Lawless, Rosenallis, Co Laois.
Paul MacDonnell, Tullamore.
Odlums Youth All Ireland Home Baking:
Eimear McHugh, Dromahaire, Leitrim.
Shauna Gilbride, from Ballymahon, Longford.