Comer to consider political career if 'opportunity arises'

ICMSA president John Comer may consider political career
ICMSA president John Comer may consider political career
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Outgoing ICMSA president John Comer has said that he would consider entering political life if an “opportunity arises” but if it doesn’t that he’d be just as happy to continue milking cows.

Speaking on RTE’s Sean O’ Rourke Show this morning, when asked if the “lure of Leinster House” would ever appeal to him, Mr Comer said he wouldn’t rule out political life when he steps down from his ICMSA role next month but that he would also be just as content to keep on farming.

“My term as ICMSA president is up on December 19 and right up until the minute that I step back from the top table I will be absolutely apolitical of all parties.

“I have a passion for being able to influence situations that would be to the betterment of our country and of our people and I certainly wouldn’t put myself up there that I can do that in any greater capacity that anybody else but if an opportunity arises where I can do that, that’s good but if not I’ll be happy milking cows," he said.

While he admitted that returning to full-time farming will be a “big transition” for him, he is looking forward to it and referred to advice his father gave him when he was younger.

“My father used to always advise me to get on in the world, keep an open mind and keep a clean shirt. It will be a big transition but I always enjoyed farming. My son will be with me and my two daughters as well. It is truly a family farm. We’ll see what happens.”

Speaking about the possibility of a hard Brexit, Mr Comer added that the introduction of tariffs would be catastrophic for Irish agriculture.

“A bad Brexit would be catastrophic. If we ended up with a world trade agreement where we could have up to 50pc tariffs on some products going in to the UK then that market would not exist. We want to avoid that at all cost,” he said.

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He pointed out that agriculture is a key employer in rural Ireland and in order to maintain this, a favourable Brexit will have to be negotiated.

“There’s nobody queuing up in rural Ireland to provide jobs. Agriculture is the lifeblood of rural Ireland, without it there would be nobody living there. We provide over 250,000 jobs. It’s a key, vital national interest to make sure we can facilitate the trading environment so that’s maintained.”

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