Coveney: Agriculture laden with potential
New minister vows to unlock opportunities in sector
"Agriculture has got more potential than any other sector of the Irish economy at the moment."
That's how confident the new Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, is about the future of the farm sector.
In his first in-depth interview since he landed the top job, the 38-year-old Corkman spoke of his delight about his appointment.
"This was the one I wanted," he said. "It may come as a surprise to many because I come from a predominantly urban constituency, but I've grown up on both agriculture and the marine."
Minister Coveney hails from the prime farming area of Minane Bridge 20km south of Cork city, where his family once owned a 430ac farm.
"None of the family really knew anything about farming," admitted the minister, whose father, Hugh Coveney, worked as a chartered surveyor before he became Minister for Defence and the Marine.
"The original idea was to come home after studying agriculture to run the farm and be my own boss by my mid-20s," he said.
But following the untimely death of his father in 1998, Simon was catapulted into the world of politics when he won the seat in the subsequent by-election.