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Smith attends Virginia Show - Minister stresses critical importance for Ireland to be at the very centre of EU decision making

Mr. Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was at the Virginia Agricultural Show in County Cavan today where he presented awards for the Baileys Irish Champion Cow Competition.

Minister Smith welcomed the generous sponsorship by Glanbia Ingredients, and by Baileys, for the Baileys Irish Champion Dairy Cow competition, which is now in its 26th year and is recognised internationally as being a showpiece for top class dairy animals. He went on to say that the competition was the first to recognise the importance of both production and breed type traits in dairy cows.

The Minister acknowledged that events such as Virginia Show do not happen without a lot of hard work and much of the success of Virginia Show can be attributed to the very committed and energetic committee involved under the Presidency of Mr Ned Duffy and he congratulated the Committee for their enthusiasm and effort.

Minister Smith took the opportunity of his presence at the show to outline the urgent need for the introduction of measures to manage the current downturn in milk prices. He also repeated that he had recently written to Commissioner Fisher Boel urging her to develop a medium term strategy to enable the sector to manage the transition to a post-quota era and to deal with the effects of market volatility.

Outlining that the problems in the milk market are international in nature and require co-ordinated and effective action at EU level, the Minister stressed how critically important it is for Ireland to be at the very centre of EU decision making, and to have strong allies around the table.  "The upcoming vote on the Lisbon Treaty provides an important opportunity for us to send a strong signal to our EU partners, and indeed to international markets, that we are a fully engaged EU country, and that we recognise that the EU will play a key role in our economic recovery", he said.

Date Released: 19 August 2009