Farm Ireland

Friday 19 April 2019

It's disappointing that children are used in political debate on climate change - new Macra President

Thomas Duffy on the family farm in Maghera, Co Cavan. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Thomas Duffy on the family farm in Maghera, Co Cavan. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

President Elect of Macra na Feirme Thomas Duffy has said that the recent debate between An Taisce and farm organisations on meat consumption has been disappointing and is concerned that children were used as “a piece in a political debate”.

Cavan dairy farmer and farm advisor Thomas Duffy was deemed new President Elect of Macra na Feirme this afternoon at the Farm Centre in Dublin.

Last week An Taisce came under fire from farm organisations for promoting ‘Meatless Mondays' in its school advisory packs to second level students.

Mr Duffy said the dispute added nothing of value to the climate change debate.

“I’m disappointed that this is the way the conversation has gone. I don’t think it adds anything to the conversation, it’s an example of antagonism. From my point of view climate change is quite a key issue to me, but I want to ensure that farmers understand that there are responsibilities on us and opportunities for us but I think we need to be realistic,” he said.

“As a representative of young people we see eating disorders on the rise and I was recently reading a piece of Irish health research that showed that 68pc of Irish teenage girls were on a diet.

"It would be a much different thing for An Taisce to tell adults to reduce meat consumption but ultimately it is a different thing when you say that to young people who don’t have the ability to quantify that and assess it.”

Mr Duffy added that better solutions for farmers need to be put forward when it comes to tackling climate change effects and stated that “he doesn’t think what unfolded over the last week has aided in the bringing together of environmentalists and farmers”

“I don’t think there was anything of value gotten from it.”

As Mr Duffy was the only candidate running the Ramor Macra man was elected on first count at the Farm Centre in Dublin this afternoon.

The farmer and agricultural advisor will take over the reins from current Macra president and Cork man James Healy who was elected to the post two years ago.

Meanwhile Bord na Mona employee from Co Offaly Ger Mahon was deemed Leinster Vice President Elect in a tight vote of 19 votes to 18 against Helen Dempsey. Munster Vice President Elect and ICBF employee Sean Wallace was elected on the first count with 43 votes, while Teagasc and Carrigallen Macra member Fergus O’ Rourke was named North West Vice President with 21 votes

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