Agricultural emissions reductions are another attack on rural communities, by a government happy to make scapegoats of all rural dwellers.
The Rural Independent TDs have accused some rural Fine Gael TDs and Senators of issuing a press statement based on a false narrative earlier this week, painting a picture of concern for farmers. Uncoincidentally, these are the same representatives who voted to give Eamon Ryan ‘carte Blanche powers to cut agricultural emissions.
Speaking from his Tipperary constituency, the leader of the Rural Independent Group, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath, stated:
“The legislative policies underpinning the carbon emission reduction targets for agriculture and other sectors were given legal effect in the Climate Action Act 2021, which was deliberately voted through by all Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, and Green party TDs and Senators. It dually gives the unelected Climate Advisory Council the power to set the target ranges and Minister Eamon Ryan to determine the final emission reduction figure for Irish agriculture.”
“Thus, empty words now are a classic example of these representatives saying one thing but doing another. Their actions, in giving Minister Ryan such agricultural latitude, is akin to giving a blank cheque to an ‘addict’.”
“It is, therefore, incredibly ‘two-faced’ of any government TD to do an eleventh-hour U-turn, posturing deep concern for the impact of emission cuts to farmers, when they previously voted against a Rural Independent Group amendment, aimed at delivering an emissions veto for Irish farmers grounded in established sustainable production methods.”
“Fine Gael has form when it comes to ‘doublespeak’ on agriculture. After all, they are the party that told dairy farmers to expand production and invest heavily by taking out big loans after EU quotas were ended, resulting in a 38 percent increase in cow numbers and a 43 percent increase in the average herd size. Presently, the same party is about to authorize an emissions reduction target with FF and the Greens; even at the lower 22 percent, this will mean many viable farms face eradication and inevitable culls to the national herd.”
“The newfound concern of backbench FG and indeed FF TDs and Senators are perhaps more about their own political futures than that of the family farm. Ultimately, they are setting legally-based climate change emission reduction targets, which will force the closure of farms nationally and send food prices soaring – at a time when inflation is rocketing.”
“Whether the final reduction target is 22 or closer to 30 percent, the consequences will be profound. The approach fails to recognize that Irish farmers are amongst the most sustainable in the world, having less scope to lower emissions without drastically compromising food production.
“Simply put, the disconnect between the government and farmers is deepening, as both are viewing the other with distrust and are unaligned. The Fine Gael TDs and Senators crying crocodile tears are the ones who voted for this approach, refusing farmers a veto and emphasizing their lack of consultation with farmers before passing the legislation which sets the arbitrary emission reduction goals as indicated above.”
“My colleagues and I have, unlike others including Sein Fein, steadfastly advocated for farm families on this issue, warning that agricultural emission reductions would result in cuts to herd sizes and devastation for our largest indigenous sector.”
“We have seen the negative impact of targeted agricultural emission reductions in other countries, without an alternative plan. For instance, Sri Lanka imposed a ban on fertilizer usage only in the name of going green. The result was brutal and swift, according to the Foreign Policy Magazine, leading to angry protests, soaring inflation, and the collapse of its currency. That country is now in an economic free fall.”
“That is why, we believe proceeding with any farm emission reductions, within the currently evolving inflation-induced environment is reckless and dangerous. Once again, we are calling on the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture to acknowledge the new economic, energy, and food security threats and abandon the planned emissions cuts for the agriculture sector and go back to the drawing board, beginning with consultations with farmers,” concluded Deputy Mc Grath.
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