The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association welcome the formation of a new Government and look forward to working with the newly appointed Minister for Agriculture Deputy Michael Creed. Irish Agriculture is heading into very challenging times with the possibility of a British exit from the EU and potential trade deals that will disadvantage Irish farmers. In this respect it is vital that we have a Government and Minister working in the best interests of all farmers.

While the role Minister Creed has, will have a significant impact on Irish Agriculture, it will not be exclusive. The establishment of a new Government Department of Climate Change & Natural Resources headed by Minister Denis Naughten will we expect have an important say in how we farm, and we look forward to positive engagement with him.

For many farmers who have struggled over the last number of years with restrictions imposed on their farming activity due to land designations, the office of Minister Heather Humphreys who has Rural Affairs and Regional Development added to her portfolio of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht will be of critical importance. We look forward to an early meeting with her, to discuss and forward proposals we have on designated lands and rural development issues.

Another Government Department that directly affects agriculture is the Department of Social Protection. Here we will be lobbying Minister Leo Varadkar for increasing number of places on RSS Scheme and the reversal of cuts made to the Farm Assist Scheme. We will also be looking to making significant changes to the means assessment element of this Scheme and ensure those that go back into education remain eligible for the Scheme.