“I would prioritise the following issues if given another term of office:
- I want to put food security back at the top of the agenda both here and in Brussels. The environment and climate change are important, but we must not allow the importance of food production to be undermined by short-sighted policies.
- I want to see a forum for farmers doing the work on the ground to talk directly to those designing schemes about the practicalities of doing the tasks without being shouted down and outnumbered by NGOs – some whom have a vendetta against agriculture and farmers such as An Taisce and many other vegan and animal rights crowds under the guise of environmental and climate change.
- We must make sure that the drystock sector is protected and not sacrificed for the big dairy lobby. Suckler, beef, sheep, and tillage farmers are not in derogation. Many of our members are fairly extensive and many on land that is not fit for any other type of farming. Without farmers all that land will go rank with no biodiversity.
- I believe we need to work together to fight the anti-livestock farming agenda which is well-funded and is making the climate change debate all about livestock farming and diverting attention from the responsibilities of the fossil fuel and energy sectors.”
Mr Kelleher hails from Inchigeela in West Cork, where he runs a suckler farm with his wife Mary. They have five adult children, two of whom are farming. Dermot’s eldest son Christopher is now involved in the home farm where alongside the sucklers they keep a herd of pedigree Charolais cattle, and his other son Tim breeds pedigree Zwartbles sheep.
He is currently the ICSA president and has served as ICSA national suckler chair and Munster vice-president in the past.
ICSA’s presidential election takes place this Wednesday, 14 December in Portlaoise. Mr Kelleher will be seeking a second term of two years and is being opposed by ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara.