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Order of Business

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Senator Paul Bradford

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I support the previous interventions of Senators John Crown and Rónán Mullen. Both have raised matters of profound importance. The purpose of politics and of the Houses of the Oireachtas is to discuss such matters in a timely fashion, not once the horse has bolted. I hope the Minister will be in a position to come before us sometime this afternoon by agreement. I also want to support the comments of a number of colleagues who expressed their concern about the possible future crisis next year in the dairy industry. A very well informed report was published by Teagasc yesterday, which highlighted the dangers facing Irish farmers in respect of the price of milk next year. Sadly, we should not be surprised by this, because when one relies on world markets and international pricing trends, things can go up and down and one is never in full control of the situation. There was a huge degree of heralding of the end of the milk quota regime. There was a huge degree of ministerial and Government congratulations about the future development of the dairy industry and the expansion and the jobs that would flow. We have seen this across the townlands and the parishes of this country, where people are seriously increasing dairy herd size and people who have not been dairy farming for the past 20 or 30 years now intend to invest. We must ask ourselves whether a property-type boom could now hit Irish agriculture unless we manage this expansion in a careful fashion. One cannot have a permanent bonanza. One cannot keep increasing production and expect prices to remain solid. We must be realistic. In fairness, the Minister is meeting the IFA dairy committee this afternoon and other such meetings are planned, but it would be helpful if the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Simon Coveney, could come to the House in the near future to debate in a realistic fashion the challenges as well as the opportunities facing the Irish dairy industry, Irish agriculture and all the jobs that depend on it.