Two motions proposed and submitted by Cahir Area Fianna Fáil were passed by delegates at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis held in the RDS last weekend.
The first motion at the Agriculture, Food and Fisheries seminar, which was submitted by Ballybacon Fianna Fáil Cumann, called on the Government to launch an independent investigation into the causes of the horse meat controversy and to issue recommendations on what steps should be taken on a national and EU level to restore public trust in the food chain. The second, submitted by Cahir Comhairle Ceanntair, called on the Government to maintain its commitment to achieving the objectives of Food Harvest 2020.
Commenting on the motions after the Ard Fheis, party activist Martin Lonergan said, “We need a wide-ranging independent investigation into the horse meat scandal to ensure it is never repeated and to restore customers’ confidence in the food they buy. Consumers have a right to expect that food is exactly what it says on the label. An investigation needs to identify weaknesses and look at what food businesses, regulators and government are responsible for, not only in this country but across the wider European Union.
“It matters in terms of our reputation, in terms of the integrity of the food chain and of course consumers need to be reassured that the know what they are eating. We need to find out who was responsible and what policies and procedures can be put in place so that this never happens again. Restoring confidence in what has been a world class beef manufacturing and food processing industry in this country should be one of the main priorities of this government.”
On the motion calling on the government to maintain its commitment to achieving the objectives of Food Harvest 2020 Mr Lonergan said, “It was fitting that party leader Micheál Martin TD said in his leaders address on Saturday night that agriculture and food is one of our most important industries, supporting many thousands of jobs and that our Harvest 2020 strategy remains the blueprint for further growth and job creation and that it should be implemented in full by the government.
“This long term strategy for the agri-food, forestry and fisheries sectors is hugely important to our economy as a source of jobs, exports and regional development. This sector can contribute significantly to our economic recovery and provide long-term growth into the future. It is vital that we harness this potential,” said Mr Lonergan.