The Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has criticised Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue on the speech he gave at Tullamore Show on Sunday 14 August.
ICMSA president Pat McCormack said that Minister McConalogue gave a completely "disingenuous" message to patrons in relation to the "voluntary" nature of Government policy and the 25% climate target.
At the opening of Tullamore Show, the Minister said there is no measure or policy that will be forced upon farm families.
“There is no measure or policy that will be forced upon farm families and, as I’ve always done since I was appointed, I will engage meaningfully with farmers and their representatives," the Minister told patrons.
This, McCormack said, was "demonstrable variance with the reality of the imminent changes to nitrates regulations".
McCormack added that it's getting worrying to constantly read and hear from Government spokespersons that no measures related to emissions are compulsory or mandated, while changes are coming down the line to the nitrates derogation.
"At the same time, we have the Government mandating changes to the nitrates regulations that are quite explicitly not voluntary or optional.
So long as they don’t have ‘emissions’ in the title, they can still argue that ‘nothing is forced upon farm families’
"We’re back here to the Government’s delusion that it can introduce a whole series of compulsory measures against farming in general, and dairying in particular, but so long as they don’t have ‘emissions’ in the title, they can still argue that ‘nothing is forced upon farm families’ in terms of reducing emissions.
"Farmers are not fools and it really doesn’t matter what Minister McConalogue chooses to call these measures or under what heading he classifies them, what we are focused on is the net outcome.
"And the net outcome is always restrictive of farming and the proposal is always compulsory for farmers," he said.
The fallacy that these are being forced needs to end, according to McCormack.
This, he said, is "insult to injury" stuff that has the official position reliant on word games and double meaning.
"I don’t know whether it’s deliberately disingenuous, but it’s certainly no way to introduce policy and, long term, it is corrosive to a process that needs buy-in and a unified understanding of what it is that we are about,” said McCormack.