John Bryan Campaign Office,
30 November 2009
I am well aware of the very strong concerns in your area about the Teagasc decision to close Mountbellew Agricultural College. Having spoken to several people in your area and realising the clear need for an agricultural college in Connacht, I want to put on the record that, immediately after the closure was announced, I proposed at IFA national council that this decision be reversed.
I have gone on the record at the IFA national council, at a meeting with Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc, and at several of the presidential debates around the country that I totally oppose the decision to close the college. If elected IFA President, I will immediately push for a reversal of this decision.
The college is vital to the agricultural sector in the west, north-west and midlands. Its closure makes no sense in the context of the unprecedented demand for agricultural education. The number of young people attending agricultural colleges has increased by over 70% in the past three years and the number of participants in agricultural training courses is now at its highest level in more than two decades. In contrast, in this year alone, demand for construction-related courses has dropped by 35%.
I would appreciate if you would make your branch members aware of my stance on this issue at your AGM.
John J Bryan