Agriculture essential to economic recovery, says Kenny
AGRICULTURE will play a fundamental part in Ireland's economic recovery, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said yesterday.
Speaking on the final day of the National Ploughing Championships, Mr Kenny pledged that agriculture would remain a clear priority of the Government.
Agriculture had already played a vital role in the export-led recovery highlighted in the exchequer figures published yesterday, he said.
The Taoiseach played tribute to the "outstanding success" of the National Ploughing Championships, which has become a huge draw in recent years.
"Obviously with the growth in income and export potential that has now been realised there's a mood of confidence here," he said.
However, spending in every sector including agriculture needed to be examined as part of the budgetary process, the Taoiseach said.
"We are happy to say that agriculture has made a remarkable contribution to the Irish economy and we want to see that continue," Mr Kenny added.
Difficulties and challenges lay ahead for both the Government and MEPs in dealing with reforms of the Common Agriculture Policy, the ending of quotas and the Mercosur trade discussions, Mr Kenny said.
Some 50,000 people attended the championships yesterday, bringing the total attendance for the three days to a record 190,000.
National Ploughing Association managing director Anna May McHugh said it had been "the most successful year ever".
"It's been a very good year, and the harvest was in early in most counties so people were ready for a break and had a bit of money to spend," she said.
After three successful years in Athy, next year's event will be held in New Ross, Co Wexford.
Now aged 77, Ms McHugh said she had no intention of retiring until she was no longer able to do the job "because I just love it, though it's always a worry".