Photo credit: ICMSA website

Farming group: Govt’s climate policies are a “bad joke”

“Unfair, unjust & illogical”: An organisation representing Irish dairy farmers has written a letter to the government, calling the way carbon emissions are calculated in Ireland “a bad joke.”

The remarks were made by Pat McCormack, President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA).

The Association describes itself as “the state’s specialist dairy farmer organisation that has for over 70 years represented Ireland’s farm families at local, national and European levels.”

“A disastrous threat to commercial farming”

“It is our opinion that present Government policy represents a disastrous threat to commercial farming and the rural communities who depend on that activity,” wrote McCormack.

“Perhaps more than any other group, you will appreciate the fact that – excluding the cities and largest towns – the most meaningful and significant economic and social force in Ireland is farming and food production.

“The farm families that are the basis for our multi-billion euro food sector are the commercial, social, cultural and demographic basis for most of rural Ireland. They are the people that keep rural Ireland viable.”

While McCormack asserted that the ICMSA accepts the dangers of climate change, he added: “We do not accept that this necessitates the effective ending of commercial family farming in Ireland and – be in no doubt – that this is where we are headed if the trend and weight of Government decisions keeps going against our family farms.”

“Stripping away supports”

McCormack went on to criticize the government’s CAP strategy, as well as the suggestion of a “crude cap” on livestock numbers, which he said would be “hugely damaging to our future.”

He said that “Commercial family farms are being undermined at every turn” in favour of “large industrial scale farms,” adding that the consequences of this would be “immense and disastrous in economic and social terms.”

McCormack also claimed that every euro earned by local farm is multiplied three times as it enters the local economy.

“That same Euro,” he said, “will be deducted three times as it disappears from the local economy.”

Ireland’s dairy sector is already carbon efficient

He went on to add that Ireland already has “one of the most carbon efficient dairy sectors globally,” and that it made little sense for Ireland to leave dairy production to less environmentally friendly producer.

“Cutting dairy production in Ireland will increase global emissions,” he said.

Emissions calculations “a bad joke”

Additionally, McCormack claims that the way Ireland calculates emissions is “a bad joke.”

“How is it that a barrel of oil from Saudi Arabia exported and consumed in Ireland is counted as Irish emissions, while a tonne of butter exported from Ireland to Saudi Arabia and consumed in Saudi Arabia is also counted as Irish emissions?” he asked.

“The emissions count against the producer for butter, but not for oil? How is that consistent or fair?”

He concluded by asking TDs to ensure there would be no cap on livestock numbers, and that farmers would be allowed to have “sustainable stocking levels.”

“Decisions made by Government in relation to carbon budgets in the coming days and weeks will determine the future of Irish farming over coming years and decades,” he said.

“These decisions will rank amongst the most serious taken over the last 70 years and I ask you to make those decisions in a way that ensures that farmers are not unfairly, unjustifiably and illogically restricted.”

 

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