'Unrealistic targets' will have detrimental economic effect

In a joint briefing on the Climate Change Bill IFA, ICOS and MII said they were very concerned about the threat posed to the future development of the agri-food sector if this rushed legislation is not stopped.

In a joint briefing on the Climate Change Bill IFA, ICOS and MII said they were very concerned about the threat posed to the future development of the agri-food sector if this rushed legislation is not stopped.

The President of the IFA, the President of ICOS and the Chairman of Meat Industry Ireland warned that pursuing unrealistic targets would have a hugely detrimental effect on the country's largest indigenous industry.

IFA President John Bryan stated, "this legislation, if passed, would be an appalling legacy from this Government in its final days, as it would create an obstacle to the significant potential that has been identified for growth of €4bn in agri-food exports. In its latest commentary, the ESRI says that we should adopt the EU target. The present Bill, which wants to exceed that target, should be set aside while the consultation process is underway."

The President of ICOS, Pat McLoughlin, said the failure of the legislation to recognise the many positives in Irish agriculture was a major flaw.

He said, "our low-carbon model facilitates the production of food in a sustainable way and permanent pasture is the basis of our agriculture. Neither is allowed for in the Bill. These issues must be addressed before the legislation proceeds."

Ciaran Fitzgerald, the Chairman of Meat Industry Ireland, said, "the competitiveness edge that exists for beef production in this country will be severely damaged if these restrictions are placed on the sector. Ireland is best placed to meet increasing global demand for food as we operate a far more sustainable model that avoids the consequences of carbon leakage in other regions."