Labor wants town council on agriculture after agreed 25 per cent emissions cut


The Labor Party has called for a town hall meeting on the future of Irish agriculture and food production.

It comes after the coalition agreed a 25 percent reduction in carbon emissions for the sector after months of negotiations and tensions.

The Greens had been pushing for a 30 percent cut, but Fianna Fáil’s Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue was reluctant to go beyond 22 percent.

Cork East Labor TD Seán Sherlock said it was necessary to “rethink” farming to achieve this goal.

“Labor is very clear that in order to achieve the 51% overall reduction enshrined in our climate legislation, every sector must make its fair contribution to reducing emissions,” he said.

“The evidence is clear: the cuts that need to be made across the agricultural sector need to be at the high end of the proposed scale – closer to 30 percent than 22 percent.

“When it comes to achieving these goals, there is no sense in any industry that the goals are being foisted on them.”

Mr Sherlock said farmers need special programs put in place to support farming households and families.

He said farmers had taken on “serious debt” to increase production and were under “serious pressure from banks and cooperatives” to repay and deliver quality milk.

“One bad silage season and a lot of these people are finished. We are already seeing evidence that co-ops are providing access to psychological and advisory services due to the pressure farmers are under.”

He said it needed a “national conversation” by a citizens’ assembly on what the future of farming would be.

“Such a gathering could consider everything from our food strategy to innovative and environmentally friendly farming methods. Forestry is still the poor kid and we are far from our reforestation goals,” he said.

“The way we work needs to change, and government has a responsibility to enable a just transition for our farming communities to reduce emissions and protect livelihoods.”

That would mean more farmers would be paid to capture and store carbon, Sherlock said.

“A market approach will not deliver sustainable agriculture and decent farm incomes. A citizens’ assembly must consider how we can find solutions to these challenges.”

NGOs, environmental, industrial, business, agricultural and civil society representatives should be brought together to help find a solution. “We’ve seen the benefits of these tough talks in the past,” he said.

“There is only one possible economy for the future: a zero-carbon economy.

“The next step in achieving this goal is to bring everyone together.

“A citizens’ meeting on the future of farming in Ireland would achieve that for all.”

A 2018 citizens’ meeting on abortion led to a referendum that lifted the state’s ban on abortion. Labor wants town council on agriculture after agreed 25 per cent emissions cut

Fry Electronics Team

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