Cahill: ‘Farmers furious’ at An Taisce programme inaction

Farmers across the country are furious with the Government’s refusal to review the Green Schools content regarding meat and dairy consumption for children, according to Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Horticulture and Food Jackie Cahill.

The programme, which is backed by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton, contains a proposal for schools to run a “Meatless Monday” campaign, the Tipperary TD noted.

Commenting on the matter, deputy Cahill said: “The Department of Health – and not An Taisce – is the lead authority in the state for providing expert dietary advice for daily food and drink intake.

It promotes the ‘Healthy Food for Life Food Pyramid’ – which clearly states that meat and dairy consumption is needed for a healthy diet.

“Ireland is a global leader in sustainable food production,” deputy Cahill asserted.

“Farmers fully accept that we need to reduce our carbon footprint and an extensive action plan was outlined in the recent all-party Oireachtas report on the subject for the agriculture sector.”

This plan needs to be implemented by the Government, the TD said.

Many projects are being rolled out to further reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the sector – the National Bioeconomy Campus in Lisheen is a great example of what can be done to lower GHG levels.

“Farmers are becoming increasingly frustrated with this Government. Earlier in the year the Taoiseach stated that he was planning on eating less meat, upsetting beef farmers and undermining Bord Bia’s work, and now the Green Schools programme is promoting ‘Meatless Mondays’ and a reduction in dairy.

“I am calling on the Government to immediately have the content of the schools programme reviewed by the national authority on dietary advice before having schools endorsing it,” deputy Cahill concluded.