Senator Aisling Dolan - Strong Voice, New Vision.

Agriculture & Rural Development conference taking place on May 7th in Tullamore

May 03, 2022

Agriculture & Rural Development conference taking place on May 7th in Tullamore

Fine Gael is inviting families across Galway to a one-day conference on matters relating to agriculture and rural development, entitled ‘Stronger Communities in Rural Ireland’, on Saturday, May 7th in the Tullamore Court Hotel, Co. Offaly.

The conference will feature senior Cabinet Ministers and prominent speakers in the area of agriculture and rural development, including An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Minister Simon Coveney, Minister Martin Heydon, Former GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail, CEO of Glanbia Co-op Jim Bergin, and MD of Good Food Ireland Margaret Jeffares.

Senator Aisling Dolan said, “Fine Gael’s ambition for rural Ireland is simple: we want to build stronger and safer communities by making our rural towns and villages across Galway better places to live, work, run a business and raise a family.

“While it’s only a year old, the Government policy ‘Our Rural Future’ is already having a big impact in communities.

“Tackling dereliction and vacancy is one of our major priorities under this policy. We’re taking old, empty buildings across the county and repurposing them, giving them a new lease of life.

“We also want people to be able to move back to live and work where they grew up. Fine Gael is leading the way on remote working, through our Connected Hubs initiative, which has established hundreds of remote working hubs in our local communities.

“Looking at the agriculture sector, with increasing costs and the Ukrainian crisis, the past few months have been hugely challenging for farmers. We have responded swiftly by introducing exceptional aid packages for the pig and horticulture sectors, and the full removal of excise duty on green diesel. But we know challenges still remain, and we are looking forward to hearing from people in Tullamore next Saturday. Expert speakers will give their perspectives on the sector including Edna Curley, Principal of Mountbellew Agricultural College & Farm Manager.”

Speaking ahead of the event, An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said, “Fine Gael is listening to rural communities and businesses, and this conference will allow members and supporters to contribute to shaping Fine Gael Party policy and the future of rural Ireland.

“The rural and agriculture sector plays a vital role in Ireland’s economy, with agri-food exports accounting for 9.5% of total exports and making a significant contribution to employment with 164,400 jobs in rural and coastal areas. We are fully committed to a thriving rural economy and we’re working hard to protect these jobs and businesses.”


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Schedule for Fine Gael Agriculture & Rural Development Conference:

10am: Registration, and exhibitors open

11am: Opening address from Minister Martin Heydon

11.30am: Session 1: Markets & Margins

  • Moderator: Cllr. Anthony Barry
  • Panel: Minister Martin Heydon; Richard Clinton, Commercial Director at Dawn Meats; Gerard Cleary, Financial Director at Glenisk; Edna Curley, Principal of Mountbellew Agricultural College & Farm Manager.

12.15pm: Session 2: Ensuring Life in Rural Ireland - Planning, Community and Living

  • Moderator: Deirdre Clune MEP
  • Panel: Minister Peter Burke; Doírín Graham, CEO Clare Local Development; Aogán Ó Fearghail, former GAA President; Pat Smith, MD Local Power, Solar Renewable Energy.

1pm: Lunch break, and exhibitors open

2pm: Session 3:  Interview & Q&A with Party Leader and Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar TD

  • Moderator: Maria Walsh MEP

2.40pm: Session 4: The Challenges and Opportunities of Climate Action for Food Production           

  • Moderator: Senator Micheál Carrigy
  • Panel: Jim Bergin, CEO Glanbia Co-Op; Thia Hennessy, Professor of Agri-Food Economics in UCC; Colm Markey MEP; Martina Calvey Achill Mountain Lamb.

3.30pm: Session 5: Economic Opportunities for Rural Ireland: Remote Work and Entrepreneurship

  • Moderator: Senator Tim Lombard
  • Panel: Minister Heather Humphreys TD; Teresa Roche, Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese; Paddy Buggy, Manager Mountmellick Development Association; Margaret Jeffares, MD Good Food Ireland.

4.15pm: Session 6:  Interview & Q&A with Minister Simon Coveney: The Russian Invasion of Ukraine – Consequences for Europe & Ireland

  • Moderator: Cllr Fidelis Doherty

5pm: Event close