Extra €35m bill in 2020: FCI voices fury at ‘inequitable’ carbon tax

The Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) met with the senior economist in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine last week to discuss the issue of carbon tax, which the organisation says has been “inequitable” for agri contractors.

The group seeks a rebate similar to that available to haulage contractors “as a matter of fairness”.

In a statement last Friday, October 25, the contractor representative association revealed that the previous day it presented a “clear, researched and coherent” case for the rural contractor to the department official.

The FCI statement noted: “Farm and forestry contractors in Ireland account for in excess of 62% of all fuel consumption in Irish agriculture.

Our voice demands to be heard; our contractors cannot absorb huge fuel cost increases over an annual consumption of close to 350 million litre annually.

“Can Irish farming afford to pay this extra cost when we simply don’t have an alternative power source?”

The contractor organisation added that it met with other farm organisations & TDs while in Dublin to help them to understand their support is needed, noting that the responses were all positive.

“Our next meeting will be with the Dept of Finance where we have already re-sent an updated submission (our third on the issue).

Now we are seeking face-to-face meetings as we are the most affected sector by the current €6/t carbon tax increase that will cost Irish farming an additional €35 million in 2020.

“Our bigger concern is that, if there is no rebate, then the additional cost to Irish farming when the carbon tax is increased to €80/t, in five to seven years’ time, will be a cost increase of in excess of €100 million in farm contractor charges.

“We all know that Irish agriculture cannot sustain this,” the FCI statement stressed.

To avoid this, the organisation seeks a rebate system similar to what is available to haulage contractors “as a matter of fairness that all contractors are treated equally”.