Helen McEntee gives maiden speech
McEntee says appropriate that her first Dáil contribution should be on the fodder crisis
Helen McEntee: welcomed the announcement by Mr Coveney that a further 170 loads of hay and silage would be imported in the next week
Recently elected Fine Gael TD Helen McEntee gave her maiden speech in the Dáil last night to applause from all sides of the House.
The Meath East TD was elected in the March byelection following the death in December of her father Shane McEntee, minister of state for agriculture.
Ms McEntee (26) said it was fitting that her first speech to the Dáil should be during a debate on the fodder crisis.
The new deputy, who had worked with her father for two years until his death, paid tribute to Fine Gael for its efforts towards her election success and to Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney for meeting farmers in her constituency and making sure their views were heard.
Meath occupied more than 230,000 hectares, of which 180,000 were used for agricultural purposes only, Ms McEntee said.
Describing the weather as being as “predictable as the National Lottery numbers”, she said agriculture had taken a beating because of the bad winter and spring.
There had since been some growth and farmers were putting their livestock out, “but any bit of growth that has happened disappears straight away”.
She acknowledged the efforts being made by the farming community, by the co-ops and the State agency Teagasc in the crisis and said Department of Agriculture intervention had been necessary.
Ms McEntee welcomed the announcement by Mr Coveney that a further 170 loads of hay and silage would be imported in the next week and hoped it would assist as many farmers as possible.