Independent TD, Danny-Healy-Rae, has accused the government of letting down farmers in Budget 2022.
The public representative stressed the budget, along with issues surrounding felling licences and a potential reduction in the national herd, have angered farm organisations.
Moreover, he said people – including farmers – will remember this as a “frightening” budget because of carbon tax hikes.
“Many people would have thought that the carbon tax, which was put in place last year and is to last for another seven or eight years, would be paused this year in light of the increased cost of fuel coming into this country caused by worldwide prices,” Danny Healy-Rae told the Dáil.
However, the deputy said government is adding to this cost by ensuring people pay this carbon tax.
He warned this move would impact every man, woman, and child in the country, especially working people.
“It will affect people who get up early in the morning to drive long distances to work, mothers taking children to school and farmers.”
During his address to the Dáil, he quoted the chair of a farming organisation as follows:
“All we can do, Danny, is keep putting the diesel in and paying the cost until we find we have no more money to pay.”
“We will go as far as we can. However, it is hard to see that we will be able to continue in any fair way for months longer into the future.”
The deputy continued: “A man driving his own machine is now paying €250 more since the middle of the summer because of the extra cost.”
“The government is adding to that man’s woes by increasing the carbon tax. Any man or woman who has a wheel turning at all will be affected desperately,” he stressed.
“All we will see is new big shiny buses in Dublin and the people in rural areas suffering. The price of diesel and petrol has gone to €1.65/L and it is almost €1 for green diesel.”
During his speech, he asked what alternatives are available as Ireland is importing briquettes and peat moss for the horticulture industry.
“The people in rural Ireland are affected most. What are the alternatives? The government talks about wind energy from turbines out at sea.”
“We are ten years away from that. In the meantime, people must live and try to stay warm in their homes. We have no alternatives.”
“However, the Taoiseach said two gas-burning electricity generators are broken down at present, and it is hoped to get them working.”
“Imagine we have reduced ourselves to the following. Close Shannonbridge and Lanesborough and forget about the 10,000-acres of bog in Littleton. Let people perish in their homes for the winter or, perhaps, have no light.”
He also slammed Ireland’s health system and confirmed that he does not accept the measures in Budget 2022 will resolve the problems in UHK he has been highlighting.
He stressed that people aged 90 years and more are waiting for three days in corridors on trolleys. “The ambulance service we are getting at present is not acceptable,” he added.
“The ambulance service was reconfigured in 2012 or 2013. However, there is often no ambulance to be found in Tralee, Killarney, Kenmare or Cahersiveen because they may have been sent to Cork, Kinsale or somewhere else around the country.”
“People may be left on the side of the road following an accident. I am aware of a farmer whose fingers were cut off and another farmer who had been attacked by a bull, and no ambulance was to be found.”
He said nurses are worn out from “working so hard with fewer numbers”. Others, he added, are leaving in their droves for Australia.
“We need more doctors and consultants in our hospitals along with the teams that go with them. It is no good appointing a consultant without the team to accompany him,” Danny Healy-Rae concluded.