Credit: Tim Thompson / Scop.io

Sinn Féin accused of “siding with government on Climate Bill while telling farmers it opposes it”

Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol has accused Sinn Féin of speaking out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to the government’s Climate Action Bill. The legislation, which seeks to achieve zero carbon emissions bu 2050, has been described as a measure that will “kill off the Irish farmer” according to rural TDs.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after Sinn Féin voted with the government last night to bring the controversial Bill one step closer to being fully passed by the Oireachtas.

“Last night Sinn Féin members were among the one hundred plus TD’s who voted through this highly detrimental piece of legislation,” she said. “I and my colleagues in the Rural Independent Group, along other independent TD’s opposed it outright.”

“We are of the clear view that the Bill is not only economically dangerous, but it is also profoundly undemocratic, especially with respect to the binding nature of the carbon budgets and the lack of effective oversight by the Dáil.”

Farming – especially beef and dairy farming – will be targeted by the Bill, with rural TDs saying that beef or suckler farmers would have to reduce their herd by 50%.

“We feel that there’ll be no family farm left in 10 years’ time; there will be big factory farms and Ireland as a country will be so different,” Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath previously said.

Carol Nolan said that there was just “one solitary mention of the importance of a genuinely just transition process” in the Climate Bill.

A just transition process is the means by which the government has sought to assuage fears of a devastating impact on jobs for rural communities because of Green policies.

However, the process has come under fire after it emerged that those made unemployed by the abrupt closure of peat harvesting by Bord na Móna did not feel supported by the fund. The Dáil recently heard that  “not one job” had been created in the midlands by the Just Transition process, 12 months after it was launched.

Deputy Nolan said that the single mention of Just Transition in the Bill came with “a severe caveat that government will only pursue efforts to maximise employment opportunities, and support persons and communities that may be  negatively affected by the transition “in so far as is practicable.”

“This clearly indicates that environmental considerations will trump all other concerns in the midlands when it comes to protecting or retaining jobs,” she said.

“Despite this we have Sinn Féin out almost every day of the week telling people in the midlands that they want to protect jobs. They cannot have it both ways,” she added.

“Sinn Féin needs to be honest about the true nature of its so-called opposition to government, because it is saying one thing on the ground and another thing in the Dáil.”

“The people of rural Ireland deserve better than that.”

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