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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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‘This body will become the new NPHET and will dictate how many cows a farmer can keep’

Rural Independent TDs have called on backbench government TDs to “come out of hiding and stand up for their constituencies and rural communities instead of towing the party line”.

The group appealed ahead of the report stage debate and vote on the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill in the Dáil today (Tuesday, June 15th).

It feels that without “substantial” changes, as outlined in its amendments, the “deeply flawed and damaging” Bill “blatantly attacks the fabric of rural Ireland and our democracy”.

The group has tabled approximately 90 amendments to the Bill to “protect rural communities and make the legislation more just”.

Leader of the Rural Independent Group, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath, emphasised:

“Rural Independent TDs have crafted practical amendments to make the legislation fairer and less destructive to rural Ireland and ordinary people.”

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“However, these amendments will not pass without the support of all rural TDs. We are providing the platform through our amendments for all rural TDs to step forward and wear the rural Ireland jersey as a united team.”

“All backbench Fianna Fail and Fine Gael TDs must decide if they want to be on the side of rural communities and family farms, or continue to bat for their political parties’ obsession with power.”

Immeasurable damage to rural Ireland 

He warned that without changes to this legislation, the damage to Irish agriculture will be “immeasurable”.

The deputy stressed it will lead to thousands of direct and indirect job losses across rural Ireland, while “adding enormous and costly volumes of red tape”.

“In the event that this Bill is passed, without any substantial changes, then rural Ireland will be left in ruin and dictated to by an un-elected body known as the Climate Advisory Council.”

“This body will become the new NPHET and will dictate to ordinary people on issues like whether you can cut turf, how many cows a farmer can keep and whether a son or daughter can obtain planning permission on family lands to build a home.”

Therefore, the consequences, he added, mean a “complete sell-out” of the economy, rural communities and the public.

“Government backbench TDs have been misleading farmers. The simple fact is that if this Bill is passed, then no-one will be able to change drastic targets set by the Advisory Council and approved by the Minister.”

“The stakes have never been higher. We remain firmly in the corner of rural communities and ordinary people.”

“We will give rural backbench government TDs one final opportunity to decide which side they are on when our amendments are debated and voted upon at report stage of the Bill on the floor of the Dáil,” he concluded.

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