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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘A farmer with 50 cattle today will only be allowed to have 24 in 2030’

The Rural Independents have warned that the Climate Action Bill will “kill the economy while doing nothing to protect the environment”. 

They fear that “small farms will be in danger of disappearing and replaced by large corporate interests, while one-off rural housing will cease to exist”.

The group believe the bill will cause “immeasurable damage to Irish agriculture”, cause food security issues, lead to thousands of direct and indirect job losses across rural Ireland and create enormous and costly volumes of red tape.

They ventured their frustration yesterday (Monday, April 19th), ahead of a Dáil debate on the new government Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill today (Tuesday, April 20th).

National cattle herd facing 51% cull by 2030

Leader of the Rural Independents Deputy Mattie McGrath, said:

“This bill will be highly destructive to every facet of the Irish economy, including the agri-food sector, which alone employs 164,400 people.”

This bill aims to cut carbon emissions by 51% by 2030 and meet net-zero emissions by 2050 but makes no exception for the agri-food sector.”

“As a result, the national cattle herd faces a 51% cull by 2030. According to independent research, this will mean culling 3.4 million cattle or a farmer with 50 cattle today will only be allowed to have 24 in 2030. This crushing and counteractive move will destroy the family farm.”

He said, for instance, the Mercosur trade deal will allow 99,000 tonnes of beef per year coming into the EU from countries like Brazil.

New research by Oxford University highlights that this would, in fact, be more environmentally destructive than homegrown beef, thus underlining the stupidity of the government approach.

“It is truly astonishing that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael would agree to such drastic proposals, which will see our meat coming from the opposite end of the world instead of local farms,” McGrath added.

Carbon tax

“Michael Martin and his government had already, before the publication of this bill, legally provided for an increase of almost 300% to the carbon tax by 2030.

“When this government took office, the carbon tax was priced at €26.50 per tonne and now have legally set a price climb to €100 per tonne by 2030.”

McGrath stated the government aim to take in €9.5 billion in new carbon taxation revenue this decade. The effect of this means additional tax payments of “almost €2,000, on every man, woman and child”.

“In addition to the tax, it means higher living costs, mainly delivered through increases in fuel prices and the knock-on implications for consumer goods, such as food and necessities.”

“This measure comes from the same government that advocates for the country moving to electric cars soon, while on the other hand, they shut down electric power plants and other energy sources.”

“These measures are making absolutely no sense and will result in severe financial consequences for every household, family, farm and small business owner in the years ahead.”

Concluding, he confirmed the group will combat these proposals at every turn.

“We will stand up for rural communities and family farms, and we will not be swayed by the government spin and empty platitudes. We will stand up for rural Ireland and family farms when the Climate Action Bill comes before the Dáil.” McGrath of the Rural Independents said.

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