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Abstract

Throughout the Celtic Tiger years, the contribution of agriculture to Irish gross domestic product and employment declined as other sectors of the economy boomed. Not surprisingly, interest in the sector over this period, from both the popular media and public representatives, declined. However, since the start of the downturn in Ireland’s economic fortunes in late 2007, there has been a renewed interest in the sector. The Irish government’s Food Harvest 2020 strategy has set ambitious targets for the expansion of the Irish agricultural fisheries and food sector, but the achievement of these targets will be dependent on overcoming a number of structural and environmental constraints. This paper examines the characteristics of this important indigenous sector in the Irish economy and the major constraints facing it. This study concludes with a discussion on whether or not the agriculture, fisheries and food sector is in a position to contribute to Ireland’s economic recovery.