Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Former Ag Minister Mary Coughlan returns to a green agenda

Mary Coughlan
Mary Coughlan
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The former Tanaiste and Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan, has returned to having an agricultural brief, with her new role as an consultant and registered lobbyist.

Coughlan, who became a TD at 21 in 1987, was the Minister for Agriculture from 2004 to 2008, before moving on to become Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

The former Deputy Leader of Fianna Fail has now turned her attention to consultancy work, including lobbying. A registered lobbyist, Coughlan and the board of Cre met with the Minister for Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten in Dáil Éireann to discuss industry challenges, specifically public policy on composting and anaerobic digestion.

Cre is a non-profit membership association that aims to promote composting and anaerobic digestion in Ireland and Coughlan, with her extensive agricultural background, has been working with them to raise industry issues.

She told FarmIreland that Minister Naughten was “very helpful and supportive” and that the issue of food waste was an important one. The meeting took place before the summer Dail recess.

“Ireland Inc needs to reach the levels of brown bin usage that we had hoped to achieve a number of years ago.”

To do this, she said, there must be increased awareness and knowledge of brown bin usage and composting.

“Brown bin usage is much less than the targets set out and we want to find out why people do not seem to want to use them.”

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Coughlan also said there are challenges for the sector around collection.

“It is an environmental issue and one that is set down in policy at Irish and EU level.”

Ireland wants to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, she said, and this is a way of doing that.


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