Bacik calls for Citizens’ Assembly on the future of Agriculture and Food Production in Ireland

20 September 2022

Labour leader Ivana Bacik has today (Tuesday 20th September) called on the Government to convene a Citizens’ Assembly on the future of agriculture and food production in Ireland.

Speaking at the Ploughing Championships, in Ratheniska, Co Laois, Deputy Bacik said a radical rethink of Ireland’s agriculture sector needs to happen to cut emissions and to promote good and sustainable jobs and communities into the future.

Deputy Bacik said:

“We need to have a national conversation on what the future of agriculture can look like. To make it happen, we must break free of political short-term thinking and place good and sustainable jobs and communities at the heart of policymaking. We can make a start by convening a Citizens’ Assembly on the future of Agriculture and Food productions in Ireland without delay.

“An assembly could consider everything, from our food strategy to innovative and green ways of farming. Forestry is still a poor relation and we are way off our afforestation targets. The reality is that our way of working must change and the Government has a responsibility to deliver a Just Transition to our farming and rural communities to lower emissions, to protect livelihoods and promote good jobs.

“A free-market approach won’t deliver sustainable agriculture and good farming incomes and jobs. A Citizens’ Assembly must look at how we find solutions to these immense challenges. We need to bring a range of voices together from NGO’s, environment groups, trade unions, industry, business, agriculture and civil society representative groups. We have seen the benefits of having these hard, open and honest conversations with each other in the past. We have found pathways to difficult questions and we can do so again. The future of our planet depends on it so we have no time to waste.

“There is only one possible economy in the future. That is an economy that operates on a carbon-neutral basis. As we take the next step in achieving this goal, we need to bring everyone together and build an Ireland that works for all.”

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