Tipperary-based Fianna Fáil TD, Jackie Cahill, has stated that he is “proud and delighted to be associated with Budget 2023” as it injects €11 billion into the economy to address the cost of living crisis facing the country.
He said the government has made “serious attempts” to provide increases for those “under the most pressure”.
During a recent address to the Dáil, he explained that “at times in politics, we receive a lot of criticism, but since Tuesday, we have received many calls from people saying they are delighted with this budget”.
The deputy shed light on measures for householders to alleviate fuel poverty, the doubling of social welfare payments and agricultural supports, which are all contained in Budget 2023.
Focusing on agriculture, he welcomed the DAFM’s move to provide a €90m increase in the TAMS budget to fund the proposed large-scale investment in on-farm renewables for farmers, subject to the European Commission’s approval.
There will also be an increase in TAMS funding to €90 million, which will help fund the proposed increase to a 60% grant rate and a standalone investment ceiling of €90,000 for solar installation.
Cahill explained: “As a farmer, I am fed up with being told what we cannot do. I have always stressed that the agrifood industry wants to concentrate on producing food sustainably.”
“I judge all climate negation measures by the fact that if they do not impact on our ability to produce food sustainably in this country, then they will be successful.”
“If they impact our ability to produce food, then they will have failed. This separate budget that has been introduced for TAMS is directed at putting in place solar panels on farm buildings.”
He urged the DAFM to extend this further to include constant aeration of slurry, rubbers on slats, different fertilisers that involve “significantly” less run-off and production of organic, pelleted fertiliser.
“There are many things that can be done within the agrifood sector to reduce emissions and meet our emissions targets.”
“In regard to the €90 million that has been put into this separate TAMS budget relates to a point I made very strongly to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine about the fact that we have a TAMS budget for infrastructure and that we needed a separate TAMS budget to tackle climate change.”
He said its inclusion in Budget 2023 is a “huge” step forward to meet the 25% emissions reduction target.
Meanwhile, he is in favour of a €3 million/annum allocation over the next four years to “kick start” farm-based anaerobic digestion.
“A great deal of technology exists. Farmers around Europe are ahead of us in this regard. Animals on farms throughout Europe typically produce an income. They also produce an energy income. They are a valuable source of income.”
“We can go a long way towards our renewable energy targets inside the farm gate. I am delighted to see these initiatives in the budget. I have worked hard in the parliamentary party to push this agenda, and thankfully I got a receptive response.”
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and now the government has put the money in place. We have to continue to build on that.”
The deputy said that while there are “many positive things” in this budget, this initiative on how the agrifood industry will meet its climate change targets is “most welcome”.