Ryan’s climate goals for agriculture threaten future of rural Ireland – Fitzmaurice

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has called on all TDs – “both rural and urban” – to oppose Environment Minister Eamon Ryan’s plans on achieving climate goals in the agricultural sector.

In one of his hardest-hitting interventions on the climate debate so far, the Roscommon-Galway TD said that farmers are expected to shoulder an unreasonable and unrealistic burden to meet climate goals and that the future of rural Ireland is at stake.

Deputy Fitzmaurice noted that the Government is expected to agree on sectoral emissions ceilings – or ‘carbon budgets’ – which will cap the carbon footprint of various sectors until 2030, in the coming weeks.

The Roscommon-Galway TD said that if agriculture is to cut its carbon footprint by 30%, then a significant portion of the national herd would have to be culled.

“This would be detrimental not only to farm incomes but to the entire rural economy. Every element of the food production process would be hit hard, from farmers and meat processors to marts and butchers. The knock-on effects would be the deathknell for rural Ireland.

“Farming in Ireland is grass-based, that is totally different to other countries – and the figures being used to justify the proposed cuts are not correct”.

Deputy Fitzmaurice added that there are technological solutions “coming down the line” that can assist not just agriculture but the entire economy, in terms of achieving significant carbon footprint reductions.

Hitting out at TDs who are “willing to compromise and agree to a 22% reduction”, he said this, in reality, is a case of those politicians turning their backs on rural Ireland.

“Any carbon reduction plan that involves the culling of our national herd will effectively be a lethal injection for rural Ireland. All TDs, both rural and urban, must voice their objection to Minister Ryan’s plans. And if the Government does not listen, then I think the time has come for the people of rural Ireland to stand together and protest that their future is being undermined.

“We cannot and will not accept such a plan and the pain and suffering it would inflict on hundreds of thousands of people across Ireland”, concluded Deputy Fitzmaurice.