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Eddie Punch, who is contesting the upcoming European elections. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

Fancy footwork as Punch joins Independent Ireland


Eddie Punch, a dedicated advocate for Irish agriculture, has joined the Independent Ireland alliance in his bid to win a seat in the new European Parliament.
Speaking this week the Cratloe native reiterated his commitment to addressing not just agricultural challenges but broader regional and social issues affecting his Ireland South Constituency.
“Joining Independent Ireland is a crucial step in strengthening our collective voice in Brussels, ensuring our diverse needs are addressed effectively,” he said.
Deputy Michael Collins, Party Leader of Independent Ireland, warmly welcomed Mr Punch to the party.
“We are delighted to have Eddie on board. His extensive experience and profound understanding of both local and European issues are exactly what Ireland South needs for effective representation in the European Parliament,” he said.
Married to Una with whom he has four children, Eddie stepped down from his role as Secretary General of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) after 25 years to enter electoral politics.
A suckler and beef farmer, Eddie sits on the board of Sixmilebridge Co-operative Mart and has been a Member of Council with the Irish Management Institute since 2021.
A former member of the National Economic and Social Council, Eddie has also worked in rural development with both Laois LEADER and West Limerick Resources.
Eddie has what few first-time European Election candidates can call upon, more than 20 years of experience lobbying successive European Farm Commissioners and EU officials on a face-to-face basis in both Brussels and Strasbourg.
“I have negotiated with every EU Farm Commissioner since Franz Fischler in 2003,” he said.
“Now I want to put that experience to use for the constituents of Ireland South. This is not just about farmers, this is about all of those whose lives and economic wellbeing is linked to the success of our agri-food sector. This is about Ireland’s vital national interests, of which our farming sector is a key component.”
Mr Punch believes that farmers are entitled to fair play when it comes to climate and environmental targets.
“Farmers are more actively engaged in sustainability than most of the population. But we can’t forget that the primary purpose of farming is to feed the world. Farming also can make a significant difference to renewable energy and we need to get the balance right in policy between food security, energy security and climate ambition.”
“Farmers want to do the right thing but they are also entitled to recognition for the role they play in providing carbon sinks, and they are entitled to fairness in terms of emissions estimates and other metrics that have been adopted, even in the face of emerging evidence that shows that farming has been made a scapegoat to the benefit of the fossil fuel sector.
“I also get really frustrated when people use figures without fully understanding the context, or worse, use figures that are plain wrong. In Ireland, we get this all the time when we discuss climate as if it was just a national issue but ignore the reality that our agriculture is inextricably linked with EU farming, in terms of the CAP and in terms of internal EU trade.”
However, Eddie is “not just a one-trick pony” when it comes to the demanding brief all MEPs must consider. “ I passionately believe that our country needs to be successful in every county and that balanced regional development is more critical than ever before.
“For example, instead of Dublin Airport further expanding, I would like to see a counterbalance created by increasing traffic into and out of Shannon, Cork and Farranfore Airports.
“Repeated calls to restore Waterford Airport as a regional gateway for commercial flights should also be fully supported.”
A passionate advocate for people with disabilities, Eddie is committed to placing “the escalating problem of mental health” at the heart of his parliamentary brief if elected on June 7th.
“I am a hard worker, a straight talker and a good listener and would provide a truly independent and experienced voice for all 10 counties within this vast and varied constituency,” he added.

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