The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said that today’s government announcement of a sectoral emissions ceiling for agriculture 25% lower than emissions in 2018, is a “potentially devastating blow” for Irish farming and the rural economy.

The association claimed that the deal between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party is about the survival of the government rather than survival of rural Ireland.

While the decision was not reached prior to the last meeting of Cabinet before the summer recess yesterday, it is understood that the Cabinet will be recalled for an incorporeal meeting to pass the emissions ceilings for all sectors.

President of the IFA, Tim Cullinan said: “The government has agreed to a target without any pathway to get there or any budget to assist farmers to reduce emissions.

“They have no idea of the economic and social impact of today’s decision on the farming sector or rural Ireland. Farmers across the country will be rightly worried about what this means for their future.

“The implementation plan to achieve the target will be vital. I want to make it clear that any attempt to undermine farmers livelihoods or the viability of sector, in order to achieve these targets, will be opposed vigorously by the IFA,” he added.

Government support for emissions reduction

The IFA has said that the government will have to come forward with proposals and funding to support climate measures including on-farm renewable energy and must ensure that farmers get full credit for carbon off-setting.

“We are still strongly of the view that the government has not complied with the requirements in the Climate Act in relation to carbon leakage and the distinct characteristics of biogenic methane. These will have to be taken on board by the government,” Cullinan said.