Every sector, including agriculture, will have to make a real contribution to Ireland’s climate objectives, but the creation of a narrative that alienates farmers is unhelpful, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.

Speaking in the Seanad on Monday, the Minister said: “There are those within the general population who believe eating a hamburger is more detrimental to our planet than getting on an aeroplane. We need to counter this narrative.”

McConalogue told Senators that, in his experience, farmers were custodians of the land and wanted to contribute positively to the environment.

He said the positive action taken over many years had to be recognised and farmers supported to take further steps to meet an increased ambition.


He pointed to the AgClimatise roadmap, which sets out the steps to be taken to reduce emissions from agriculture and increase the level of carbon sequestered as the sector’s commitment to take action.

“This decade will be one of change in Irish agriculture,” the Minister said, “but I can assure Senators that in 10 years’ time, and even in 20 years’ time and beyond, the production of high-quality meat and milk protein will remain the bedrock of Ireland’s agri-food industry.

“By delivering on the ambitious vision as set in the Ag Climatise roadmap and beginning our journey towards climate neutrality, we can protect the Irish family farm for generations to come.”