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Meath's New Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine focuses on his New Position

New Minister of State Shane McEntee, T.D has stated that he is greatly looking forward to working with the food and horticulture sectors in the coming months and years ahead. Minister McEntee also indicated that he plans to meet with a wide range of people from the agri-food sector to familiarise himself with the situation on the ground with a view to assisting the sector grow and develop.

The Minister has had several engagements already in his new capacity and gave an address at the National Greyhound Racing Awards on Sunday 20th March.  The following day, Monday 21st March he attended the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association Flat Racing Awards Luncheon as guest of honour.  The Minister is known to have a keen interest in horse racing and took the opportunity to congratulate the trainers on their great achievements at Cheltenham.

In keeping with his promise to visit producers, the Minister availed of an invitation from the Commercial Mushroom Producers (CMP) and travelled to their premises in Monaghan last Friday 1 April 2011. As part of the visit Minister McEntee also called on a local grower associated with CMP as well as the packaging facility.   The Minister highlighted the value of the sector stating "The mushroom industry is the largest sector of the horticulture industry with an annual output valued at approximately €100 million.  Monaghan Mushrooms is one of the world’s largest and most progressive fresh mushroom companies and should be held up as a template for other food business operators.  Enterprises such as this lead us to believe that the agri-food sector will form the basis of Ireland's economic recovery."

Upcoming meetings in the Minister's diary include a visit to Largo Foods in Navan, the opening address at the Belvedere House Self Sufficiency Show in Westmeath and the National Bio-energy Conference in Tullamore as well meetings with local artisan and producer groups. Minister McEntee's father, Tony, sadly passed away recently and the Minister said he was greatly touched by the huge amount of good wishes he had received. Tony McEntee was well known in Meath in his own right as a dairy farmer and as a result of a lifelong association with the IFA.  Minister McEntee stated that his father's spirits had been lifted when he learned of his son's appointment as Junior Minister for Agriculture and that he had been particularly proud given the family's background in farming.

Date Released: 01 April 2011