“Its like peat all over again – we’ll be importing beef now as well as briquettes” 

As the government pushes ahead with targets for emissions reductions in the face of opposition from farmers, an Aontú candidate has claimed that the restrictions on beef and dairy cattle will see a similar situation arising as when the government rushed early closure of commercial peat harvesting and then oversaw importation of peat briquettes and horticultural peat from abroad.

Aontú’s Becky Kealy hit out at the decision, saying that the government was “wilfully blind” to the carbon footprint of importing Brazilian beef.

“Even as Irish farmers face an obligation to cull their herds, Brazil is ramping up its herd numbers to meet demand by a whopping 24 million cattle – with much of that for export to Europe racking up carbon miles to beat the band,” she told Gript.

The “explosion” in Brazil’s cattle herd has been confirmed by Brazil’s beef exporters association, ABIEC, who say that cattle numbers in the country will expand by an unprecedented 24m by 2030, according to the Farmers Journal.

Ms Kealy said that the government’s actions was almost an exact replica of how they were silent on the “carbon footprint of importing peat and briquettes from other countries”

“Nothing about the Carbon footprint of importing Brazilian beef. Nothing about the Carbon footprint of importing peat & briquettes from other countries,” she wrote in a post that received thousands of engagements.

Last year, the government, meeting EU targets, put a sudden stop to peat harvesting in Ireland, in a move described as throwing workers and local communities under the bus.

However, it was quickly realised that peat, not just as fuel but as peat moss crucial to horticulture, would need to be imported. Rural groups expressed outrage as peat moss was almost immediately imported from Estonia, Germany and elsewhere . Independent TD Carol Nolan said in September 2021 that news of 200 truckloads of peat being imported from Latvia shows just how “clueless” government policy is. Some 3,600 tonnes of horticultural peat arrived from Latvia into Drogheda Port, where the imported product was loaded onto 200 lorries. According to Growing Media Ireland (GMI), the “huge shipment” of horticultural peat totaling “almost 4,000 tons” had travelled over 3,000km to Ireland from Latvia”
Ms Kealy also sharply criticised the government parties for decisions she believed were “doing damage to the country”.

“Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and The Greens are one shower of dangerous, incompetent, slippery, spineless, self-serving AND self righteous, nation-crippling cowards. It beggar’s belief the amount of damage they are doing to OUR country,” she wrote.

“Stop the nonsense, Stop Voting for them. Stop getting them re-elected. They must lose their seats,” she said.

The government said that a 25% target in reduction of emissions in agriculture were necessary to meet internationally agreed Climate goals.

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