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Independent.ie

Thursday 19 October 2017

Creed 'honoured and humbled' to have been reappointed Minister for Agriculture

Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Tony Gavin
Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Tony Gavin
John Downing

John Downing

Following his election as Taoiseach earlier today, Leo Varadkar confirmed that Michael Creed will remain as Minister for Agriculture.

Independent.ie understands that Agriculture Minister Michael Creed was the first to get the call from the newly appointed leader.

Commenting following his appointment Creed said he was "honoured and humbled to have been reappointed as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine by the new Taoiseach and I thank him sincerely for his trust in me.

" I have been privileged to serve in this Department over the past year and have strived to meet the significant challenges facing farm families, fishing communities, and the agri-food sector as a whole.

"I am confident that the foundations I have laid and the relationships I have developed, since my initial appointment as Minister, will stand me in good stead as we face in to the commencement of the Brexit negotiation process.

"On this special day for me personally, I wish to reiterate my unrelenting commitment to serving all involved in our agri-food and fisheries sector from primary producers to worldwide exporters,” he said.

Mr Creed, a Fine Gael TD for Cork North-West, had been expected to back his Cork neighbour Simon Coveney in the leadership contest, but on the day the bulk of the Cabinet declared for Leo Varadkar, Creed remained notably silent.

The Macroom-based TD has since refused to say who he voted for, insisting that it was done by secret ballot.

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But party colleagues are in no doubt he backed Varadkar, and his silence was almost as damning as the declarations of others for Varadkar.

This backing adds to a number of other issues seen to favour Creed holding his post when the new team is announced tomorrow by the incoming Taoiseach.

The most significant is that he is rated to have performed well since he got the job in May 2016. He is rated well across the agribusiness sphere, is seen as understanding ordinary farmers, and there is a serious need for continuity as Brexit looms.

There is also a need for geographic balance in the Cabinet with ministers from the south-west and west to balance the Dublin dominance under Varadkar. Cabinet promotion came late to Creed, who backed a botched heave against Enda Kenny in June 2010.

Creed was in Luxembourg this week for a meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers. On the agenda was labelling organic foods and the EU's agriculture stance in World Trade Organisation talks.

Meanwhile, Creed and other figures from the agri-industry paid tribute to former Agriculture Minister Austin Deasy who passed away after a short illness.

Mr Creed said Deasy was admired for his "robust forthright approach to politics" and will be remembered fondly not only in his native Waterford but amongst the agricultural community across the country.


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