The IFA has held a protest outside the Convention Centre in Dublin where the Dáil is due to vote through the Climate Action Bill on Wednesday evening.
The IFA believes the Government and Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan are trying to force the bill through the Dáil. It has raised a number of concerns around areas such as carbon removals, carbon leakage, and biogenic methane.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal at the protest, IFA deputy president Brian Rushe said: “We have some very real concerns that the climate bill hasn’t been debated properly. It only passed committee stage last week, now it’s being rushed through the Dáil this week.”
“Because it’s being rammed through, it’s not allowing for proper debate.”
“It doesn’t allow, when budgets are being constructed by the Climate Council in terms of what agriculture is going to be asked to do and the levels of cuts to emissions, the removals and sequestration that agriculture can achieve are not going to be considered.”
Rushe said that was a huge issue as agriculture was the only sector that could actual sequester emissions. He added that biogenic methane and the potential risk of carbon leakage were not properly recognised either.
Rushe warned that, regardless of the farming sector, the bill will define what farmers’ futures look like.
Bernard Treanor – Monaghan IFA
“We’re here today because of the climate bill. We’re here to air our issues. We put in amendments and now this hasn’t been looked into. No communication has been made to the IFA.
“We hope to see the proposals and amendments that we did put forward will be implemented so that there will be a viable income left for farmers going forward. If this bill goes through the way it is proposed, farmers’ incomes will be halved.
Jer O’Mahony – Wexford IFA
“We have issues with the bill regarding sequestration, carbon leakage, and biogenic methane. Minister Ryan has said no to all amendments and we’re now making the point that they have to consider them.
“There’s major changes in farming practices. We are the custodians of the environment and we would like to see everyone else getting involved. Obviously the whole trick is for us to move forward together rather than being told what to do.”
Brendan McLoughlin – Donegal IFA
“We feel they are going to try and do away with the national herd. They’re going to try and import cheap food from other countries with higher carbon footprints while were told to stick to the rule book.
“Our land, our forestry, our grass, our hedgerows are not being recognised as taking in emissions. This is wrong. We will work with the Government on these issues but they have to start talking to us. We’re here to take our stance, and this isn’t the end of it.”