An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report calling for a 30% cut in the national herd should be incinerated and publicly denounced by the Government, Independent TD Michael Collins has said.

The report, according to Deputy Collins, is a vicious strike against the heart of rural Ireland and he has called on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to take action.

"This report, compiled by the EPA, a Government agency, lays bare the devastating impact of the Government's radical green policies on Irish farming.

"The proposals, which aim to reduce the national herd by 30%, will destroy the livelihoods of Irish beef, dairy and sheep farmers and compromise the very food production that our nation depends on," he said.

'Mass destruction'

If these proposals are implemented, he stated, rural Ireland will face "mass destruction".

"The report calls for a reduction in livestock numbers and a quadrupling of forestry cover, together with rewetting 90% of reclaimed land, [which] will have a devastating impact on our communities, homes and traditions.

"The authors of the report seem to have no regard for the people who call rural Ireland home, as their proposals would turn it into a national park," Deputy Collins said.

The Government, he said, has lost touch with rural Ireland, as evidenced by the creation of this report, which was funded by taxpayers' money, and their plans to hammer farmers with emissions reduction targets of 25%.

"The world needs more food, not less, and it is unjust to restrict food production and leave land unused.

"We demand an unequivocal statement from the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture, assuring us that no reductions in cattle, pigs, goats, and sheep will be considered or implemented, and that the report will be immediately disregarded and incinerated," he said.

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