Agricultural diesel prices
Sligo-Leitrim, Sinn Féin representative, Martin Kenny, has called on the government to commit to bringing agricultural (green) diesel prices below €1.20/L.
The deputy made the appeal following an IFA-organised meeting at Ballymote Mart last week, where local farmers expressed concerns over rising input costs.
He told the house that farmers stressed that while “cattle and sheep prices are up, they have not doubled”, while “the cost of everything else seems to have doubled and even more doubled”.
Kenny highlighted that the price of fertiliser alone has doubled and, in some cases, tripled.
At the meeting, farmers particularly focused on diesel costs and highlighted that ag diesel is approximately €1.50/L.
Elaborating further, the deputy said:
“Therefore, 1,000L of diesel costs them €1,500. This time last year, it cost €0.78/L. It cost €780 per 1,000/L. It has, therefore, doubled in price.”
“There was a man present who is in the road haulage business and has trucks. He is buying white diesel as well.”
“The cost of white diesel has also gone up, although it has not increased to the same extent. If there were a pro-rata rise with agricultural diesel costs doubling, one would expect that road diesel would double as well and be over €3 per litre now, but it is not.”
“As we know, it is still very high, at approximately €2.10-€2.15/L around the country. This is an issue on which there needs to be a focus.”
He referred to the government’s excise duties cut but believes that the reality is that “not enough has been done to help this sector”.
“It [the government] needs to do something to get that cost down. There is no point in taking it down by 5-10c/L and then coming out with a carbon tax that puts it back up by 5-10c/, which has happened in the past.”
Kenny believes the industry “needs a break” regarding these costs, particularly the costs around agricultural diesel.
From speaking to the farmers present at the meeting and from speaking to other farmers since then, he emphasised that farmers “need” to see a reduction to below €1.20/L.
He told the house: “That is what they are asking for. It is at €1.50/L now. It needs to go at least below €1.20/L. That is still a very large increase from what they had this time last year.”
“We need a reduction in agricultural diesel, in green diesel, to below €1.20/L and to keep it at that so that farmers will be able to be productive as they can be into the future.”
“If farmers cannot buy the diesel, they need to be able to cut their silage, raise their animals and do all the things they need to do; there will be a fodder crisis next winter. There will be knock-on effects from that.”
“One of those effects will be harvest problems. The question will then arise about where we will get our food.”
“I am asking the Minister of State to bring that message back to the Minister for Finance. That is the message we need to get through,” Kenny concluded.