Co Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins has called on the Government to grant approval for 16 extra teaching staff in agricultural colleges in the Autumn. Deputy Collins sought to adjourn Dáil Éireann last week to discuss the crisis in Agricultural Colleges as an issue of major public importance.
“There is enormous demand for places in Agricultural Colleges around the country, with over 2,000 students applying for 850 places this year,” said Deputy Collins. “Co Limerick’s Pallaskenry Agricultural College alone has 198 applicants competing for 90 places.”
“The agriculture and agri-food sectors are the backbone of the Irish economy and play a crucial role in our continued economic recovery. As a nation, we have recognised what we are best at, and we must focus on maximising this potential. There is enormous scope for growth and job creation in agriculture and agri-food. People can see this and they want to get involved.
“We must embrace the enthusiasm that is out there about the potential of our agriculture sector. We cannot afford to turn students away from Agricultural Colleges in their droves. It is crucial that we produce enough graduates who are highly skilled in how to develop the agriculture sector, achieve increased efficiencies and create jobs. Teagasc has called for 16 extra teaching staff to meet the demand for college places. This is a relatively small increase in resources which could be if
a huge benefit to the industry.
“I am urging the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to address this issue once and for all. Agricultural Colleges like Pallaskenry in Co Limerick are eager to take on more students and provide them with the skills they need to make a difference to future of the agriculture sector in Ireland.”