Some farming lobbyists remain extremely powerful and are seeking to exploit land for profit as opposed to working in harmony with it, according to a Sinn Féin TD.
Réada Cronin TD said: “We must remember that as a human species, and a very arrogant one at that, we are part of nature and not above it or separate from it.
“At present, we are acting like total parasites and mother nature does not take prisoners.”
Cronin called for “major input and action” from organic farmers and said “if climate action was up to them, we would be halfway there”.
The Kildare TD said Sinn Féin would provide for three times the investment in organic farming that Government allocated in Budget 2022, which was already a 500% increase on previous years.
Cronin was speaking during Dáil statements on Government’s Climate Action Plan (CAP)on Tuesday.
Martin Kenny TD, Sinn Féin
On farmers and climate, Cronin’s Sinn Féin colleague Martin Kenny TD said: “Government is only there to beat them up and accuse them of doing the wrong thing all the time.”
Kenny highlighted what he described as “idyllic and low-impact farming” at the Shass mountain, Co Leitrim, and called for debate to “move away from rhetoric and into green policies”.
He said: “You are talking about a few sheep on the side of a mountain. It is nature flourishing at its best.”
Richard Bruton TD, Fine Gael
Former Environment Minister Richard Bruton TD said Government must help farmers “build prosperity in rural Ireland and the infrastructure of the future”.
He described the “major job to be done in persuading the European Union to change the way it approaches agriculture”.
Bruton said the EU does not value the modifications made on Irish farmers in respect of methane emissions “nearly enough”.
“The EU does not recognise our greater efficiency in agriculture, especially dairy, and that needs to change.”
Seán Canney TD, Independent
On reducing agricultural carbon emissions, Galway East TD Seán Canney said: “Farmers want to do and will do what is right” and have always done this to the “best of their ability”.
He described how farmers will be finding “new means of working the land and producing food” but called for “engagement and support to effect those changes” and financial resourcing.
“[Farmers] need to see that the schemes coming into place will support that, not take money from their Basic Payment Schemes, which are there as a family support.”