The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) plans to protest in Dublin on Wednesday against the passage of the Climate Action Bill in its present form through the Dáil.

It plans to hold a protest in Dublin with county chairs, other national council members and potentially the IFA environment committee in attendance to highlight farmers' concerns about the bill, specifically in relation to carbon removals, biogenic methane, and carbon leakage.

TDs are due to vote on the bill, championed by Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan, in the Convention Centre on Wednesday. It is widely expected to pass.

However, the IFA is demanding that a number of amendments to the bill are made which take account of farmers’ concerns.

Almost 300 amendments to the bill were tabled, but none were accepted by the Government.

Clear understanding

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, north Tipperary IFA chair Imelda Walsh said she is in favour of farmers going to Dublin to protest against the bill.

"I don't think many TDs, including rural TDs, have a clear understanding as to what this [bill] means.

"It's going to impact negatively on the agricultural community and sector. Let's be honest here, there is no count being taken of carbon removals from hedgerows and grasslands.

"My concern is that the Government want to use our carbon credits for industry. We all accept climate action and climate change are hugely important and I am not a climate denier in any shape or format. I refuse to allow the sector to be scapegoated," she said.

Galway IFA's second representative on IFA national council Martin Murphy told the Irish Farmers Journal that there are 290 amendments to the bill, but Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan isn't going to take any.

"It's a very detailed bill but there are a lot of grey areas," he said.


IFA president Tim Cullinan has criticised the lack of scrutiny and has accused Minister Ryan of attempting to ram through the legislation without due process.

“The plan to ram this legislation through the Dáil on Wednesday is a cynical attempt to avoid further scrutiny of the bill, which contains fundamental flaws,” Cullinan said.

The IFA’s concerns centre on three areas – carbon removals, biogenic methane and carbon leakage.

Cullinan said farmers have three main difficulties with the proposed legislation:

  • Farms remove carbon from the atmosphere, but this is not recognised in the definition of carbon budgets in the Climate Bill.
  • The bill's overall goal is to be climate-neutral by 2050 on a 'net carbon' basis. However, the proposed definition of carbon budgets in the bill only refers to emissions and not removals. As it is currently drafted, it will also result in 'carbon leakage'. Less food will be produced in Ireland, with more produced in countries with a higher carbon footprint, which will increase global warming. It's environmental showmanship with no regard for the real impact of the measures on actual global warming.
  • The programme for Government and the climate bill refers to taking account of 'the distinct characteristics’ of biogenic methane in setting climate budgets. Yet it appears that the Government now want to walk away from this commitment.
  • The planned IFA protest comes on the back of a day of action held by the association on Friday 11 June which highlighted its concerns around CAP reform as well as the climate bill.