Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Common Agricultural Policy: Women in Agriculture Stakeholders Group

Photo of Matt CarthyMatt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

Tá fáilte roimh uilig, our guests. This is timely and important conversation. I welcome the work the stakeholders' group has been doing with a very able chair in Ms Quinn-Mulligan. While she was often scary to us as a journalist, I have no doubt she will be a very able and available source of information to us as we deal with the challenges to ensure the official figures recognise the realities on the ground.

To me, to increase the numbers of women farmers, we first need to recognise that women are already farmers. It is just that the official figures do not acknowledge that. To me, there are four different areas in terms of how we can address those issues, on which Ms Quinn-Mulligan or the other guests could comment. First, we had better admit and face up to it that there are cultural issues that need to be addressed on farms and in communities. Essentially, we have moved to the point where women are quite able. The reality is they do everything on the farm apart from owning it. How do we address those cultural barriers? Second, we need to identify where there are legislative gaps. I wonder if our guests have any ideas in terms of where legislation is required and where this committee could perhaps start to instigate that. Third, and this was addressed in the opening statement, there needs to be budgetary consideration.

We have recognised that we cannot encourage transition or new ownership with young farmers without putting in place budgetary measures for that to happen. Ms Quinn-Mulligan mentioned TAMS, which is a good proposal. The partnership tax credit also seems like an interesting idea and I would appreciate a little bit of elaboration on that.

The CAP process will be a big part of the work we will be involved in over the next 12 months. I understand that proposals on women in agriculture were part of the recent CAP negotiations but they did not make it into the final agreement. Do the witnesses have any views as to why that was the case? Where did resistance come from? Was it within the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the Commission, all of those or none of those? Did it simply get lost? Recognising that, what needs to be in the next CAP strategic plan? From a domestic level, what can we hold up as a barometer and as a first step to show that we are taking seriously the issues Ms Quinn-Mulligan has mentioned when it comes to the future of CAP?


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