ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has criticised comments made by Minister Eamon Ryan regarding setting an emissions reduction target of 30% for the agriculture sector and cutting the national herd. “Mr Ryan’s comments are outrageous given that we know what a 30% target would actually mean – billions of euros taken out of the Irish economy, and with no clear plan how to give that earning power back to farmers, resulting in complete devastation in rural Ireland,” he said.
Mr Kelleher said it is time for both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to come out and say whether they are with rural Ireland or against rural Ireland. “Agreeing to a target of 30% is complete insanity. All it would achieve would be to outsource meat and dairy production to other parts of the world.”
“Minister Ryan said that farmers will be provided with alternative income streams, but this is all pie in the sky. ICSA has strongly advocated for renewable gas, fuel, and solar energy over the past five years but there has been complete inertia at government level. Farmers are willing to play their part in reducing emissions but there must also be recognition that they can help other sectors such as the energy sector and that they also sequester carbon. Unfortunately, this is lost in the national sectoral targets which is deeply deficient in terms of global warming. The clue is in the word “global” and policies that simply move the problem from one country to another will not produce real solutions on a global level.”
“Minister Ryan talks about anaerobic digestion, paying farmers for storing carbon in the soil and planting native woodland, but where are these plans and where will the money come from? Presumably he understands that anaerobic digesters are only feasible where several large-scale herds or feedlots are nearby because digesters typically need a balanced mix of grass and slurry to operate effectively. They are not practical in areas with small herds and low stocking rates.”
“Minister Ryan has provided no indication what funding, if any, his department has put aside for all this. It appears that Minister Ryan just expects farmers to go broke trying to meet unrealistic targets. It is high time that the other coalition partners put a stop to all of this damaging kite-flying. The government needs to be realistic about what is achievable and then work with farmers to deliver successful outcomes instead of a constant drip feed of climate shaming and sowing division.”