Minister Doyles Speeches 2019








Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. I am delighted to be invited to Nuremburg once again to officially open the Bord Bia stand at the World Organic Trade Fair. This is not my first time at this event and on every visit I continue to be impressed by both the scale of the show and also the Irish offering to the international buyers present. 

I would like to commend Bord Bia, on their role in organising the Irish Food Industry’s participation at event. I would also like to thank Bord Bia’s Chief Executive, Ms Tara McCarthy, for the invitation to speak at this launch.

I am very pleased to meet the nine companies who are exhibiting on the Bord Bia stand this year. Your presence at Biofach today is a testament not only to the high quality of your organic produce but also to the drive, commitment and the hard work of your companies.  

The sheer scale of this event will hopefully present you, the Irish exhibitors, with a wonderful opportunity of meeting the people that you need to meet to help drive your businesses into the future. I am confident that Biofach 2019 will open doors to many fruitful and profitable associations.

Bord Bia research shows that the Irish Organic Market is worth €162 million and a further €44 million is generated by direct sales. This research indicates that the Irish Organic market grew by 10.5% in 2017.  The growth in the Irish Organic market mirrors the growing demand for organic agricultural products in Europe and worldwide.    It is clear to me, that there is further potential in the Organic market, especially for Irish companies. We need to focus on how we can further grow current markets and develop new opportunities.

Today’s event shows that Irish companies, with high quality organic products, are amongst the best in the world.  I firmly believe that the growth of the Organic Sector in Ireland will be driven by market opportunities coupled with the high quality of our organic produce. This along with all stakeholders working together and the energy and innovation of the Organic Sector itself will lead and guide growth into the future. I applaud and commend the participants here today, who are visionaries in this regard, for their initiative and for seizing this golden opportunity to showcase their produce on a worldwide stage.

I wish to reiterate the Irish Government’s continued commitment to the development of the Organic Sector.  I am conscious of the need to grow production in line with demand.    With this in mind I re-opened the Organic Farming Scheme last November.  In this scheme I ensured that important organic sectors such as horticulture, tillage and dairy would be prioritised.   I also recognise the importance of the application of new technologies and I am delighted that I have again secured funds for the Organic Processing Industry Grant Scheme for 2019.  Additional equipment has also been recently added to the list available for grant-aid under the Organic Capital Investment Scheme. All these supports will enhance the ability of the Irish Organic Sector to meet market demands. 

Last week I launched the new national Strategy for the Irish Organic food sector. This strategy sets a clear vision for the growth of the Irish Organic Sector up to 2025. And it is further evidence of this Government’s commitment to the Irish Organic Sector. The implementation of this Strategy is one of my top priorities and I am determined that it receive the fullest attention to achieve its goals. To this end, I am currently establishing a dedicated implementation group which will meet in the next month. 

At this point, I would like to acknowledge with thanks the work that Bord Bia continues to do, to raise the profile of organic food among consumers both at home and abroad and for the professional way in which they have organised the Irish participation at this event.

To conclude, can I wish all participants here today every success over the coming days. I hope that this will be a worthwhile venture and that you develop the partnerships and contacts that will help your business continue to grow into the future.

Go raibh mile maith agaibh.






Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen.  I am delighted to be here today to launch this strategy for the development of the Organic Food Sector for the period 2019 – 2025.  I want to thank the sisters and the staff here in the Dominican Ecology Centre for the use of this facility.  I think the location is an appropriate venue to launch an Organic Food Strategy in view of the fact that the centre producesthe best of Irish organic produce.

I would like to thank all the members of the Organic Sector Strategy Group for their input into this document.  The Group comprised of representatives of State Bodies, farming organisations, Organic Control Bodies and a wide range of stakeholders including the organic meat, dairy, horticulture, cereals and aquaculture sectors. 

When I established the Group in early 2018 it was done based on some considered Terms of Reference which have informed its work since then. These were designed to ensure that we have a Strategy which supports a consumer led viable Organic Food Sector in Ireland, enhancing the sustainability credentials of Irish food, producing a wide range of organic products to meet increasing domestic and export market opportunities.

The group also reviewed the implementation of the 2013-2015 Organic Action Plan, and in particular identified what worked well and what did not.  Another element of the group’s work was to carry out an assesment of the case for a targeted reopening of the Organic Farming Scheme, looking to best economic and environmental outcomes.  Based on this assessment, the Group considered that there was sufficient market demand to justify the reopening of the Organic Farming Scheme on a targeted basis focussing on areas that are in deficit and where market demand is growing.  

The Group unanimously agreed that the areas to be targeted  by a re-opened Organic Farming Scheme should be organic horticulture, cereals and dairy. I agreed with this proposal and subsequently re-opened the Organic Farming Scheme late last year. This is further proof of this Government’s commitment to the irish organic sector. Ultimately the number of contracts awarded will be based on the ranking and selection process which will take into account the particular enterprise type and size of the holding.

The period which this strategy covers, coincides with the Food Wise 2025 Strategy, which is the over-arching strategy for the Irish food and drink sector, the aims of which is to drive added value for Irish agricultural produce. 

I commend the Group, and its Chairman, Martin Heraghty, for their commitment to the further development of the organic sector. A public consultation process provided an opportunity for all interested parties to contribute to the development of the new strategic plan. The public consultation process combined with an Organic Processing Survey ensured that stakeholders had their views considered, before the finalisation of this Strategy. 

This strategy aims to build on progress made and provide clear direction for further development of the Organic Food Sector for the next seven years. This Strategy can be viewed as the shared voice of the industry striving to create an environment in which growth opportunities for organic food, both nationally and internationally, can be realised.  I would therefore also like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions made by all stakeholders during this process.

The implementation of the recommendations in the Strategy will be a major driver of the growth of the Irish Organic Food Sector to 2025.  To this end, I am pleased to announce the immediate establishment of an Implementation group for this Staregy and I have appointed Martin Heraghty to the role of chairing this Group. This Group will meet in the next month at the latest to set out its priorities and I will be announcing its membership and Terms of Reference in due course.  

This Strategy sets measurable strategic objectives for each sub-sector and incorporates actions considered essential to further support the industry’s development and achieve growth targets. I am determined to put in place the structures to ensure that this implementation enjoys the priority it deserves and that organics is given due consideration in the next Rural Development Programme.

The Group also considered the important role which state supports can play in helping to drive the growth of the sector. There are many such supports and these will come into sharper focus as the next Common Agricultural Policy is developed.  Under the current Organic Farming Scheme there are now some 72,000 hectares under organic production, an increase of 50% on the position at the start of the Programme in 2014. There are currently 2,127 organic operators in Ireland, of which over 1,700 are farmers with the remainder comprising of processors, retailers, distributors and importers.  This is a major step forward. The target for the RDP was to attract some 16,000 hectares of new land into production and to support 46,000 hectares of converted land. This target has been exceeded. 

My Department is committed to supporting the Organic sector in Ireland.  In this regard the identification of markets that exist and developing these to their true potential is key. I am particularly pleased to note the market orientataion of the Strategy as ultimately it is market demand which will determine the success of the Irish organic sector. My Department is working closely with Bord Bia to foster these crucial routes to market both at home and abroad.

I firmly believe that the future is bright for organic food and farming in Ireland. It is an a leading sector in the ongoing debate between sustainable food production to which this Governement is fully supportive.  

I and my Department, are totally committed to helping the organic sector grow and develop to its full potential.  The Organic Strategy I am launching today is a very important element in this process and one that I know all stakeholders will embrace to drive the sector to new goals.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you all for coming and I hope we can all work together and play our part to bring our ambitious plans to fruition.

Speech material for Minister of State Andrew Doyle

Launch of the Duncannon Blue Flag Farming & Communities Scheme EIP Project

29th January 2019 10.30 a.m.

I’m delighted to be here to launch the Duncannon Blue Flag Farming and Communities EIP Scheme.  This is exactly the type of scheme that was envisaged when my Department chose to manage and support the EIP initiative under the current Rural Development Programme. 

Duncannon is both a beautiful seaside resort and a strong agricultural and fishing community.  The beach is part of the River Barrow and Nore Special Area of Conservation and is a designated bathing area and host to the internationally renowned annual sand sculpting festival.  The fishing industry is of importance both to the local economy and the heritage of Duncannon.   This EIP scheme will help restore water quality for all the residents of this area and ensure that the village continues to be a viable place to do business and an enjoyable place to live and visit.

Late last year the EPA publishedtheir most recent water quality report. It is vital that we understand what is happening in our environment and use the knowledge provided to guide policy. Whilst it is clear from the report that the EPA is not apportioning blame to any particular sector it is disappointing to see there was a dis-improvement in national water quality despite the substantial investments that have been made by the State and the private sector in water protection measures over the last number of years. 

In my Department, the Rural Development Programme (RDP) for 2014-2020 provides targeted and optional support to farmers for the protection of waters above the baseline requirements through GLAS, TAMS (Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes) which provides grant assistance to farmers for investments, Knowledge Transfer programmes and Locally Led Agri Environment Schemes.  For the new CAP 2021 – 2027 a priority objective will be to ensure effective targeting of measures to achieve quantifiable environmental improvements.

Ireland’s River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) was launched last year and it also contains a number of key measures which aim to reduce agriculture’s impact on water quality.  These include Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) which takes account of current pressures on water quality, including increasing dairy cow numbers.  A number of very significant changes were introduced to the fourth NAP following agreement with the Commission including –

  • New strengthened water protection measures – focus on intercepting and breaking nutrient loss to water such as from farm roadways. 
  • Targeting improved soil fertility for more efficient use of fertilisers, Simplification of the regulations to improve implementation.

The Duncannon scheme is an excellent example of a joined up approach to water pollution which will deal with pollution from both agricultural and domestic sources at the one time, and will benefit locals, tourists, farmers, fishermen and anglers.  I commend Wexford County Council, Mairead Shore and Con Curtin for the initiative shown in developing an innovative project which seeks to sustainably restore, protect and enhance the quality of the bathing and riverine waters in Duncannon.

I know that one of the objectives of this scheme is to generate a sense of local ownership, responsibility and appreciation for the local water environment in the Duncannon area.  I’m confident that in this close community, there will be co-operation from all the stakeholders, and you will all benefit from improved water quality and a better environment.   I encourage the wider community to play a role and be aware of how their actions contribute to water quality. What is learned here will be shared, through the EIP network, with similar communities throughout Ireland and will help to improve water quality in other sensitive catchments.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine now support 23 Locally Led Schemes, with a total budget of €59 million. We are excited by the EIP initiative and are greatly encouraged by the interest and enthusiasm of the many groups that are now involved.

I wish the project team well.  They are being supported by Wexford County Council,Teagasc, Glanbia, Bord Bia, Geoff Barry Consultancy local farmers and IFA rep James Wallace and I know that all members of the group will work together to make this scheme a success.