Doyle addresses major food and drinks seminar in Paris France remains Ireland’s third biggest Food and Drink Export Market

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Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle, T.D., visited Paris today to carry out a number of engagements in what is Ireland’s third largest food and drink market.

In his address to a Bord Bia organised seminar on insights into the French foodservice market, Minister Doyle highlighted the importance of this market, worth €81billion, and pointed out that “what we have to offer is unique: food and drink produced to the highest standards of safety, traceability, and quality, from an island that has a clean, green, unspoilt image, and now backed up by an independently verified sustainability system – Origin Green”.

 

The Minister went on to say that “Ireland’s world-class credentials are well regarded by all levels of the food sector here in France, none more so than chefs throughout the French culinary arts industry. We have built a great reputation as a source of premium, safe, sustainable food and drink”, and he strongly encouraged the 15 participating Irish companies present at the seminar to exploit the business opportunities that the French foodservice market offers.

 

Following his address, Doyle met with a leading global foodservice company to explain Origin Green and to set out what the Irish food and drink Industry can offer to such a company.

 

Minister Doyle then attended the annual Bord Bia Irish Food and Drink Trade Reception in the Irish Embassy in Paris, where representatives of major French retailers and food service industry, along with over 30 Irish food and drink exporters to France, were present.

 

Reflecting on 2015, he said “France held its long-standing position as Ireland’s largest Eurozone export market for food and beverages and is now in third place globally. The value of the market was just over seven hundred million euro.” Looking to 2016, the Minister remarked that despite it being another challenging year, “figures for the first 9 months show an increase in the volume of exports of 6% compared to the same period in 2015 for this market”.

 

In the context of Brexit and the worries that exist about the future of the UK market for Irish food and drink exports, Minister Doyle reminded those present of the position of the French market in a global context: “you, our French customers, remain our most important for lamb, seafood, and artisan beer, you are our second largest customer for beef behind the U.K and third for whiskey behind the US and Germany. On behalf of the Irish Government, I want to assure you all that your loyalty and custom is valued enormously and we hope that it will continue to deepen and grow”.

Wicklow to get €70,000 in funding under the CLÁR programme – Doyle

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Fine Gael Wicklow TD Andrew Doyle has welcomed confirmation of €70,000 in funding for Wicklow  under the CLÁR programme. “My colleague Michael Ring, the Minister of State for Regional Economic Development, today announced the allocation of €8.24 million in funding for 651 projects under CLÁR 2016. Under the scheme Wicklow  will get €70,000 in funding. “CLÁR is an investment programme that aims to provide funding for small infrastructural projects in rural areas in Wicklow and across the country, that have experienced significant depopulation. The programme has been effectively closed for new applications since 2009, but was reopened by Minister Ring on the 6th of October 2016. €20.000 Knockananna Village Provision of pedestrian crossing at primary school €48,000 Knockananna Village, Provision for the installation of a multi-use games area with seating and fencing. €2,000 Askanagap Village, provision of safety signs and road markings on approach roads to Ballymanus GAA grounds.  “The aim of CLÁR is to support the sustainable development of areas that have experienced significant depopulation, by attracting people to live and work there. In particular, this funding is focused on issues such as safety at schools and community centres and the development of amenities for young people in rural areas.  I am confident that the funding provided through CLÁR will support communities here in Wicklow as they look to ensure their children are safe and have recreational amenities available to them in their own communities.  “The funding will also ensure that communities are able to access the natural resources in their area for their own health and social benefit and to offer attractive options to visitors to the area. €1.35 million has been allocated to support the maintenance and development of Local Access Roads to beaches and waterways and other community amenities in order to facilitate the safe use of these resources. “CLÁR is one of a number of schemes which will help to support rural communities in Wicklow and across the country. “Funding has previously been provided to towns and villages across Wicklow under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the REDZ Programme and the Rural Recreation Scheme. All of these schemes work in a complementary way to ensure that all rural areas have strong economic and social centres. “Fine Gael in Government is committed to ensuring that people living and working in rural Ireland feel the benefits as the economy continues to recover. I would like to commend Minister of State Michael Ring and Minister Heather Humphreys for the range of initiatives they have announced to date aimed at supporting rural communities. “Minister Humphreys will be publishing the first ever Action Plan for Rural Development in the coming weeks, which will be a cross government approach to supporting rural communities and stimulating regional development.”

Doyle welcomes €150,556 in funding for Wicklow under the 2016 REDZ initiative

Fine Gael Wicklow East Carlow TD Andrew Doyle has welcomed confirmation of €150,556 in funding for Wicklow under the 2016 REDZ (Rural Economic Development Zones). The funding was awarded to Arklow Chamber of Commerce to develop a heritage and visitor activity centre based on the world renowned Arklow Pottery.

The funding is being made available by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD. The REDZ scheme aims to stimulate economic development in rural towns and their hinterlands. “This is the latest in a series of funding schemes which have been announced by the Government which aims to boost economic activity and improve living standards here in Wicklow and across rural Ireland.  I am delighted that this money will go towards improve the public space in Arklow and encourage more visitors to visit Arklow. I am also very pleased that the Chamber has received funding to convert ‘The Old Print Works’ into a heritage museum, cultural hub and craft centre.  I have fully supported this initiative since its inception over 2 years ago” said Doyle

The REDZ scheme aims to improve links between rural towns and their hinterlands to stimulate activity at a local level. This initiative encourages Local Authorities to work with local communities, business interests and other State bodies, to identify areas of greatest economic need which can make better use of their local assets to generate economic activity. “Fine Gael in Government is committed to ensuring that people living and working in rural Ireland feel the benefits as the economy continues to recover. I would like to commend Minister Humphreys and her colleague Minister of State for Regional Development, Michael Ring TD, for the range of initiatives they have announced to date aimed at supporting rural communities” said Doyle. Minister Humphreys will be publishing the first ever Action Plan for Rural Development in the coming weeks, which will be a cross government approach to supporting rural communities and stimulating regional development.

Doyle urges people to buy a real Irish Christmas Tree

Minister of State Andrew Doyle visits Parkmore Christmas Tree Farm in Moneystown Co Wicklow with Stephen, Dan and Adam Cowman Tugann an tAire Stáit Andrew Doyle cuairt ar Fheirm Chrann Nollaig Parkmore sa Mhuine i gCill Mhantáin le Stephen, Dan agus Adam Cowman
Minister of State Andrew Doyle visits Parkmore Christmas Tree Farm in Moneystown Co Wicklow with Stephen, Dan and Adam Cowman
Tugann an tAire Stáit Andrew Doyle cuairt ar Fheirm Chrann Nollaig Parkmore sa Mhuine i gCill Mhantáin le Stephen, Dan agus Adam Cowman

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle T.D. urged people to buy a real Irish Christmas tree this year as he visited Stephen Cowman at Parkmore Christmas Tree farm in Moneystown, Co. Wicklow.  “At home we always make sure we have a real tree.  It wouldn’t be the same Christmas experience without a real tree and all that goes with bringing it into the house, setting it up, the smell and the atmosphere.  I see the Christmas tree farms around the country especially here in Wicklow and the 7 to 10 years work that goes into producing a good quality tree – the work is all year round, planting, shaping, spraying, fertilising, marketing, harvesting.”

 Around 550,000 Christmas trees are sold in Ireland each year with 350,000 sold at home and about 200,000 trees exported to the UK, France and Germany.  The industry is worth €21 million to the Irish economy.

The Minister added “I would also like to add my support to the Irish Christmas Tree Growers #lovearealtree campaign.  To me it’s only common sense.  Real trees provide a better Christmas experience in the home, they are better for the environment, carbon neutral and everyone who buys an Irish tree is contributing to providing jobs in rural Ireland for Christmas tree growers like Stephen Cowman, his family and staff.”

 The Minister concluded by noting the risks Christmas tree growers face. “This business doesn’t come without its risks and none more so than the risk of Christmas tree theft.  I would like to acknowledge the work of An Garda Síochána in carrying out Operation Hurdle, an initiative specifically aimed at combating the theft of Christmas trees in the approach to Christmas.”

 Operation Hurdle has been running since 2011 and has dramatically driven down Christmas tree theft in County Wicklow.

“New Central Bank rules on mortgage lending will help first time buyers get on the property ladder”-Doyle

Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture and Fine Gael TD for Wicklow, Andrew Doyle, has welcomed the announcement by the Central Bank that mortgage restrictions for first time buyers will be altered.

From January 1st   the ceiling of 80% for mortgages above €220,000 will be removed and the limit on loan to value ratio for all first time buyers will be set at 90%. This means that those seeking a mortgage for the first time will be required to provide deposit of 10%.

“These changes to mortgage restrictions together with the Help-to-Buy scheme which was announced in Budget 2017 will be of great assistance to first time buyers and it will help many people to get on the first rung of the property ladder. “said Doyle.

According to CSO figures, residential property prices in Wicklow are some of the highest in the country particularly in areas like Greystones and Bray in close proximity to Dublin.

“This is good news for first time buyers wishing to purchase homes in county Wicklow. Affording property in Wicklow has been extremely difficult for many over the last number of years. The removal of the €220,000 cap will give first time buyers more access to the Wicklow market.”  said Doyle.

 

Minster Andrew Doyle attends An Bord Bia’s Farmers’ Market Skills Training Workshop in Tinakelly House County Wicklow.

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Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture Andrew Doyle was honoured to be a guest speaker (Wednesday 16th November) at the An Bord Bia  Farmers’ Market skills training workshops at Tinakilly House County  Wicklow.

The ‘Skills Training for Selling at Farmers Markets’ workshop was  specifically designed by Bord Bia, to provide practical solutions to the challenges most frequently faced by food, drink & horticulture producers and sellers.

Doyle spoke about his own experiences of selling turnips, holly and Christmas trees at Smithfied Markets many years ago and the importance of famers selling directly to consumers at farmers’ markets.

Local food producer, farmer and successful stallholder Margaret Hoctor from Kilmullen Farm, Co. Wicklow delivered the workshop to over 30 participants. Margaret, a regular at the Marley Park food market in Dublin shared her own knowledge and wide experience of she developed the family business through this channel. The workshop was very interactive with participants sharing their ideas and experiences in farmers’ markets.

Speaking at the event Minister Doyle said “Farmers’ markets are a great opportunity for food producers and entrepreneurs to tell their story and to understand what captures consumers’ interest – what consumers regard as local, authentic and unique, what would encourage them to purchase on a regular basis.  I am delighted that An Bord Bia has decided to develop this series of workshops providing useful advice in relation to budgeting, marketing and stall management to farmers’ market sellers. These events are also wonderful networking opportunity for stallholders.”

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€97,909 in Lottery Grants for community and voluntary organisations in Wicklow – Doyle

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Andrew Doyle, has welcomed the allocation of €97,909 in Lottery Grants for community and voluntary organisations in Wicklow, which provide healthcare related and social care services.

“Here in Wicklow €97,909 has been allocated to 6 worthy organisations, Bray Open Care Centre, Irish Wheelchair Association Arklow, Marino School Bray, Bray Order of Malta, Wicklow Mountain Rescue and Bray Cardiac First Responders.

“This funding is significant, it will make a real impact on the services that volunteers and groups can deliver. It will  help them  to make a difference to the lives of the many people who use these services.”

“As the economy continues to recover, Fine Gael is determined to ensure that the benefits of this recovery are felt in every community across Ireland and I am determined to ensure they’re felt across Wickow.

“As a Government Minister of State for Wicklow I am working hard to ensure that the Government delivers for Wicklow. We are using the economic progress to make people’s lives a little better, and funding allocations like this one are very much part of that.”

Progress on low cost agriculture loan scheme is good news for Wicklow farmers – Doyle

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Minster of State for Food Forestry and Horticulture in the Department of Agriculture and Wicklow TD Andrew Doyle, has confirmed that progress has been made on the establishment of the ‘Agri Cashflow Support Loan Scheme’, which he says is good news for Wicklow farmers.

“The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, has confirmed to me that important progress has been made in the establishment of the ‘Agri Cashflow Support Loan Scheme’, which is very positive news for farmers in Wicklow. The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) has now invited banks and other lenders to take part in the new loan scheme that will make €150 million available to primary agriculture SMEs, including farmers. It is hoped that loans will be available through the participating financial institutions early in 2017. Minister Creed has spoken to the main banks and urged them to participate.

“Under the scheme, farmers will be able to borrow up €150,000 for up to six years, at a low cost interest rate of 2.95%, which is far cheaper than the rate they would get if they pursued other forms of finance. The loans will also be flexible, with interest only facilities of up to three years.

“The long period of lower commodity prices has had a real impact on the cashflow of many farmers here in Wicklow and this low cost loan scheme is going to be hugely beneficial to them in mitigating that. The whole idea of this scheme is to help farmers improve the management of their cashflow and reduce the cost of their short-term borrowings.

“Fine Gael is working to ensure that the economic progress we have made in Government is used to benefit everyone in society. This means prioritising our agri-food sector and supporting farmers to face the challenges caused by price volatility, particularly in light of the Brexit vote.

“The ‘Agri Cashflow Support Loan Scheme’ forms part of Minister Creed’s ‘three pillar strategy’ in response to income volatility, announced in the recent Budget.  Along with tax measures and farm payments, it will alleviate some of the pressures being caused by the current market difficulties, including currency fluctuation in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum.

“We are determined to support farmers here in Wicklow to improve their working capital position and provide them with longer-term financial stability”.