"Environmental quangos", such as Friends of the Irish Environment (FOIE), are “holding the national interest hostage” on climate strategy, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA).
ICMSA president Pat McCormack called on Government to make clear who is setting Ireland’s national climate strategy.
He made his comments while reacting to an announcement that FOIE has launched a High Court challenge to the Government’s Food Vision 2030 strategy.
McCormack said that it was “now imperative” that the “duly elected Government” proceed with the strategy and warned that the group's actions were "effectively blocking the possibility of any progress”.
The ICMSA president described how “every and all parties” that were part of the “existentially important” Food Vision 2030 strategy development “had to accept that they would not get everything that they sought”.
He noted the ICMSA’s own attitude to aspects of the strategy and the threat to commercial farming it represented.
“We are justifiably extremely anxious about the negative consequences that the Food Vision strategy has for Irish farming and primary food production, but we have to work with it as best we can and it’s high time that others, on the environmental side of this debate, finally grasped the fact that there has to be give and take on this.
“They cannot be allowed dictate to everyone else how this project is going to be developed,” said McCormack.
The Tipperary dairy farmer said that it is with the “greatest difficulty” that farmers in general, and dairy farmers in particular, are being convinced that there was not a specific anti-farmer agenda at work.
He insisted that the “kind of attitudes and latitude afforded unelected and unaccountable bodies such as FOIE was not helping win the support of farmers for Government policy” and suggested that the group would have to be told “bluntly” that the national policy had now been decided.
He said that if the group wanted to change that then they should put themselves forward as candidates in Government elections.
“I can’t overstate the importance of this. Either we have a Government that weighs-up all the arguments and makes a decision in the national interest or we just give up and allow niche groups to continue mounting legal challenges to properly decide policy and have the costly and unnecessary resultant delays.
“Either the Government decides or the environmental quangos do. It’s time for that question to be answered,” said McCormack.