Taoiseach Leo Varadkar agreed with ICMSA president Pat McCormack that the Irish aviation sector will have to reduce its emissions. Speaking at the ICMSA AGM, the Taoiseach stated that the sector accounts “for about 2% of Irish emissions”.

“That figure has to come down,” he added.

McCormack had earlier contrasted environmental restrictions impacting on farming with the aviation sector.

He quoted the Taoiseach’s comments in a recent article, suggesting it indicated “you support the lifting of the ceiling on passenger numbers from Dublin Airport”.

“The reason you cite is that if we don’t offer those new routes then we’ll lose them to other competing hubs and airports,” McCormack continued.

“Why don’t emissions matter for flights overseas for stag parties and hen nights, but do matter for food production in Tipperary or Cavan or anywhere in Ireland?”

Barryroe chair Peter Fleming described his co-op members as “the most affected” by nitrates derogations changes, with “a great deal of frustration and trepidation”.

He called on the Taoiseach for support for dairy farmers.

“In terms of the derogation, objective number one is whether we keep the derogation,” responded Varadkar, “we need to be smart in doing everything we can to keep it in place”, pointing to the fact that 27 other member states will decide whether Ireland keeps it’s derogation “some of whom think it gives us a competitive advantage”.

LULUCF target by end of year – Minister Ryan

A sectoral target for the land use, land use change, and forestry (LULUCF) sector will be forwarded to cabinet for approval “before the end of the year”, Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan told the media at the ICMSA AGM.

Farmers will have to bear most of the burden for cuts in emissions from the LULUCF sector, which lag two years behind the targets set for the other five sectors under the Climate Action Plan.

Minister Ryan admitted that determining a target “is complicated” due to a changing understanding of emissions from forestry.

This is probably not good news for farmers, as he stated forestry is emerging as a carbon emitter rather than a sink, “due to the profile of planting over the last 30 years”.