Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has slammed the Government and Fianna Fáil in particular, claiming the party is “intent on penalising the agricultural sector at every turn” when it comes to the climate change agenda.
Deputy Fitzmaurice was reacting to recent comments made by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue at the recent IFA AGM.
He said: “Fianna Fáil now seem to be greener than Eamon Ryan and the Green Party, only Micheál Martin is not cycling around on a bike!
“Hearing their comments yesterday, it seems as if Fianna Fáil is intent on using the climate change agenda as a stick to beat farmers with moving forward.
“Instead of recognising the work that farmers are already doing, this Fianna Fail-led Government will move to place even more restrictions and red tape on farmers.
“Has any work or research been done to recognise the carbon sequestration value Ireland’s hedgerows provide?
“The Taoiseach spoke about afforestation and linking it with the upcoming Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
“As I have said consistently in the past, I have no problem with a certain amount of forestry; but it must be evenly spread. No particular area can be unfairly targeted”.
Deputy Fitzmaurice added that Minister McConalogue’s comments regarding the ‘premise of a stable herd’ needed clarification.
“How will this impact young farmers or new entrants, who are looking to grow their business?
“If we continue down this road, large swathes land will be abandoned in favour of forests and carbon farming – turning rural Ireland into a theme park, only to be visited at the weekends and school holidays.
“Staying in Government seems to be more important than looking after the people in rural Ireland,” he concluded.