Danny Healy-Rae has come out in support of farmers in the climate change debate, stating that they are not to blame.
The Independent politician said the current COVID-19 restrictions have highlighted the real problem.
“Looking up at the sky, it can be seen that the planes are missing. One morning, on 21 August 2019 at 5.45 a.m., I looked out the door and up at the sky – 33 lines of jets passing overhead and a blue sky over that.”
“When I went out ten minutes later, all the droppings from the planes had merged together. There was no sign of my blue sky – gone completely.”
“In recent times, however, we have seen a blue sky as far as we can see on either end, and we are glad to see that.”
Healy-Rae said it is very easy to blame farmers and hauliers who are working as hard and “going through every hoop to deliver what they have to.”
He said these people are constantly being penalised by the likes of carbon tax increases despite the good work they are doing.
“It is very easy to blame these people when, with emissions, really it is up we should be looking and not down.”
Rather than focusing on climate change, the Kerry TD said that the government should focus their attention on the treatment plants around the country.
“Take our county, for example. Kilcummin has been waiting for a treatment plant for 18 years, Castleisland has been waiting for an extension to a sewerage scheme for 33 years, and then there are places like Curragh, Scartaglin and Brosna.”
“People cannot get permission there to build houses around the villages because there is no treatment plant, which only draws them into Killarney.”
For this reason, Healy Rae stated that the government is as much to blame for environmental issues as the farmers are. He added that local authorities are equal in blame with farmers for damage to water quality and pollution.
“Several Governments – the previous one and the one before – have let rural Ireland down when it comes to providing treatment plants and dealing with the environment, in our county anyway.”