New Agriculture, Food and the Marine Minister Dara Calleary will have a steep learning curve. Promoted from government chief whip to a full ministry, he will fly to Brussels Monday for the first face-to-face council meeting of EU agriculture and fisheries ministers since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ministers will exchange views on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, concerning in particular regulation on the CAP strategic plans and the green architecture, and will discuss the farm to fork strategy to make food systems in Europe more sustainable.
Calleary replaced Barry Cowen, sacked after refusing a request by Taoiseach Micheál Martin to face questions before the Dáil on his drink-driving record.
The Mayo TD’s ministerial appointment will address a lack of representation for the west of Ireland in the new Government’s Cabinet. Mr Martin said Mr Calleary would be a very “effective minister” in a role that would include looking at the EU budget, CAP payments, and supports for farmers. Calleary was also Minister of State at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht with responsibility for the Gaeltacht, and at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with special responsibility for sport.
At the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, he joins ministers of state Senator Pippa Hackett with responsibility for forestry, land use and biodiversity and Martin Heydon TD, with special responsibility for research and development, farm safety and new market development.