EU commissioner praises Irish innovation at opening of dairy centre

Carlos Moedas says progress is outstanding in food security, agriculture and bio-economy

Carlos Moedas, European commissioner for research, science and innovation , addresses delegates at the  opening of the Paddy O’Keeffe Innovation Centre at Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Co Cork

Carlos Moedas, European commissioner for research, science and innovation , addresses delegates at the opening of the Paddy O’Keeffe Innovation Centre at Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Co Cork

 

Ireland should be the torchbearer for finding innovative ways to feed the world in a sustainable way, EU commissioner for research, science and innovation Carlos Moedas has said.

During a visit to Co Cork, he said Ireland was at the “top of the wave” in the dairy industry and its example should be replicated. Mr Moedas said progress was outstanding in the area of food security, sustainable agriculture and bio-economy. “You are a food island that’s actually getting even greener and more sustainable.”

Daunting task

“You have the research, you have the competence, you have the firepower to be the ones to get a more cohesive, coherent way of looking at this industry.”

Mr Moedas, a Portuguese banker and politician, said Ireland had led the way with its economic recovery.

“When I was in my country I always looked at your country as a torchbearer. Remember that you actually were able to go through a very difficult period and you made it. That was an example that my home country followed.”

He was speaking at the opening of the Paddy O’Keeffe Innovation Centre at the Teagasc campus in Moorepark, Fermoy, Co Cork. The grassland and dairying centre was opened by Mr Moedas, European commissioner for agriculture and rural development Phil Hogan and Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney. Mr Coveney said two million Irish people had died or emigrated 150 years ago because farms could not feed them.

“Now we are producing enough food for 10 times our population,” he said. “We need to show other parts of the world how they can make that journey in 15 years, not 150 years.”

Expansion plan

Construction work had begun on a €3.5 million pig research facility and Teagasc was about to embark on a €10 million investment in Moorepark Technology, co-funded by the dairy industry.

The new centre was co-funded by FBD Trust and the Department of Agriculture. Paddy O’Keeffe, who died in 2013, was former editor of the Irish Farmers’ Journal and founding chairman of the FBD insurance company.