Fine Gael TD and vice-president of the party John Paul Phelan has raised alarm bells within the agriculture community over a tweet indicating that a 50% reduction in emissions from the agriculture sector will be expected by 2030.

Contacted by the Irish Farmers Journal, the TD clarified that sectoral targets had not yet been set which will see many farmers breathing a sigh of relief. However, the offguard comment highlights the considerable concern those within agriculture have around the Climate Bill.

The TD for Carlow-Kilkenny was making the comments in reference to the Climate Bill, which aims to enshrine in law the Government’s commitment to reduce emissions by 51% by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

A tweet by TD John Paul Phelan saying that agriculture emissions will be cut by 50%.

Sectoral targets for transport, agriculture and other areas are expected to be decided over the summer months.

However, as agriculture is the biggest source of emissions (34%), with livestock in particular contributing to the bulk of emissions, there has been considerable debate nationally over how farming will reduce emissions, with concerns that a cull of cattle could be introduced.

Deputy Phelan is one of several TDs within Fine Gael who has made a statement criticising the environment lobby group, An Taisce for appealing the High Court decision against planning for a new €140m Glanbia cheese facility.