Farmers returning to the Tullamore Show on Sunday for the first time since 2019 were delighted to be back at the in-person event, to learn something new and see the “quality stock”.

The Irish Farmers Journal asked them why they travelled from all over the country and sought their views on the 25% emissions target now set for the farm sector.

Joe Hallinan, Ennis, Co Clare - sucklers

Joe Hallinan, Ennis, Co Clare, at the Tullamore Show on Sunday.

“It stands out again because they’ve the best cattle in the country, the best commercial cattle in the country and I love commercial cattle. I used to be showing them for a number of years but we’ve got too old for that.

“It’s going to be very hard for farmers to meet [emissions targets], I think particularly for beef. They’re down on top of the farmer and the poor cow for everything.

“The suckler man will lose out. In the west of Ireland, it’s mainly sucklers that’s in it and the west of Ireland is always breeding good cattle. If they cut the cow herd, where are the good cattle going to come out of?

“There’s not [a future] for young farmers in the beef sector for the moment. They’d want an awful lot of land to get a living out of it. They’d want to have off-farm jobs.”

Gabriel Sloyan, Co Mayo – Beef

Gabriel Sloyan, Co Mayo, at the commercial heifer show ring at the Tullamore Show.

“It’s been quite good and the standard is quiet high. It’s looking good for the young people of the future. My generation were more into numbers but I think the young people, the lads in their mid 20s, 30s and 40s, they seem to be gone into more to the quality rather than the numbers.

“The west of Ireland cattle when I was a child were always good sellers all over the country. So I think there’s a good future for quality stuff and it’s down to quality now rather than volume.

“We’re all going to have a go at the politicians and we’re going to blame them. I think it’s our nature but I think they’re coming a bit hard on the farmer.

“We’ve so much pollution and it’s not just all coming from the cow. The farmer is easily hit. You can put pressure on the farmer and you can tell him that he’s going to hit his grants and he’s going to do whatever you ask him to do.”

Niamh Kelly, Co Louth – beef and dairy

“The show brings together the farming community and gives everyone an opportunity to meet up. Sometimes to get farmers away from the farm can be a fairly hard thing to do. To give them a chance to be able to get together, see different developments and what’s happening in other areas that aren’t their own speciality, that’s good.

“I think every sector is going to have to pull up their socks and try to help combat climate change. I think it’s important to know that Irish agriculture is a huge exporter from the country and a big employer so yes, it contributes greenhouse gas emission in Ireland but what the sector also contributes has to be taken into account as well.

“You want there to be a future [for young farmers] but there has to be considerations made of asking farmers to make all these changes. They’re going to have to be supported both financially and advised as well on how to make the changes.”

Noel and Jack Murphy, Co Galway – sucklers

“It’s an interesting show and it’s nice to see the good stock. There’s some lovely stock.

“Of course, it is [good to be back] because we were out of it for three years and more. You’d pick up the breeding and it’s a lovely day out for farmers.

“If we have to go cutting back stock numbers and the world is in food shortages, it’s hard to know. We produce beef more energy efficiently than the likes of Brazil. If we don’t produce the beef here they’re just going to import it all from Brazil. They’re cutting down more of the rainforest there and causing environmental damage.

“There is definitely a future in it but if more and more regulations come forward it will make it difficult and you’d have to re-align yourself.”