15 JANUARY 2019
ICSA president Patrick Kent has described comments by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar regarding consuming less meat to mitigate climate change as “reckless in the extreme”. Commenting further Mr Kent said, “As one of the most important beef exporters in the northern hemisphere, it is very unfortunate indeed that our Taoiseach should be calling into question the sustainability of Irish beef production.”
Mr Varadkar had made his comments in response to a question as to what he was doing personally to reduce his own carbon footprint.
Continuing Mr Kent said, “In 2018 agri-food sector exports amounted to €13.6bn with the value of meat and livestock exports comprising €3.97bn of that total. Surely the onus is on Mr Varadkar to protect such a vital industry; his cavalier comments however will do nothing but undermine it.”
“Ireland’s farmers are leaders when it comes to climate change mitigation. We work tirelessly with all relevant stakeholders both here and in Brussels to deliver the highest quality produce while also delivering on food security, traceability and sustainability. Other industries need to be just as proactive and the Taoiseach should remember that before making disparaging remarks about world class produce. Mr Varadkar would be better served putting his efforts in preventing vast quantities of inferior meat products entering the EU from the other side of the world.”
Concluding Mr Kent called upon Mr Varadkar to clarify that he wasn’t suggesting that people should eat less sustainably produced Irish beef and lamb.