HISTORY: The 1925 AGM of what is now the ICSA with Kilkenny man, Edward Staunton, seated, first on the left
The Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers’ Association has chosen Kilkenny to host its 25th anniversary dinner celebration.
Kilkenny’s own EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan will be the special guest at the event which will be held in Hotel Kilkenny on Friday.
The evening is to celebrate ICSA’s achievements over the last 25 years and to honour those founding cattle and sheep farmers who dedicated themselves to establishing a professional association that would be the voice for the drystock sector in Ireland.
Kilkenny has always supported the ICSA and retains a strong membership in the county.
Joining the Commissioner will be Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed TD and a host of the association’s former presidents as well as members past and present and a wide range of local agri business interests.
ICSA president Patrick Kent, a well-known Belgian Blue breeder from close to the border with Kilkenny at New Ross, expects an excellent mix of farming discussion combined with a great social night out.
Following dinner, the worlds of sport and farming will come together with a panel discussion hosted by RTE’s Marty Morrissey. Kilkenny and Ballyhale hurler TJ Reid will be joined by local girl Clodagh Cassin from Maddockstown, who is a member of the Irish Women’s hockey panel and is the star goalkeeper for UCD where she studies agricultural science.
Tullow farmer and professional rugby player, Sean ‘The Tank’ O’Brien will talk to Marty about his imminent return from injury ahead of the autumn internationals.
The line-up is completed by Irish rugby legend John ‘The Bull’ Hayes.
Another farmer from Doon in Co Tipperary where he farms full-time.
ICSA Kilkenny chairman Ger O’Brien from Callan says he hopes to see a big turnout from the Kilkenny farming community.
Now in his fifth year as EU Commissioner, Mr Hogan is currently in the process of reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) so there will no doubt be plenty to discuss on the night.
ICSA president Patrick Kent said having a local as EU Commissioner definitely has its benefits.
“Commissioner Hogan has made a lot of progress in tackling unfair trading practices in the food chain. His CAP proposals will attract a lot of debate but ICSA is keeping pressure on the Government to support a fully funded CAP.
“Without adequate funding, no CAP reform can be a success and this is a matter for the EU heads of state,” he said.
“We will continue to engage constructively with Commissioner Hogan as well and the night will enable any interested farmers to meet him and put forward their views.
“We are delighted to be having this celebration in Kilkenny, home of some of the finest farmland and finest farmers in Ireland.
“The association has a very proud past and it’s an honour to have the support of so many Kilkenny people,” he added.
EU Commissioner Hogan, said the ICSA had proven to be an effective and articulate voice on behalf of the farmers it represents over the last quarter of a century.
“Over the last nearly four years, ICSA has always engaged with me and my cabinet on a constructive e basis and I look forward to our continued engagement over the next year or so, when there is still so much to be done to support farmers in the areas of CAP reform, UTPs and other issues,” Commissioner Hogan said.
“Having published our proposals for the future of the CAP, I hope that we can start the negotiations shortly,” he said.
“It is important that ICSA’s voice is heard so we can deliver a reform to the policy that delivers simplification and facilitates the modernisation.”
A limited number of tickets for the evening are available from 057-8662120.