The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has hit out at what it claims is the “deafening silence” when it comes to aviation emissions in comparison to the “fixation” on farming.

Pat McCormack claimed that there was a “brazen double-standard at play in Ireland’s emissions debate”.

The ICMSA president pointed to an announcement today (Monday, July 25) by Ryanair of a €170 million profit in the quarter between April and June.

Passenger numbers, stood at 45.5 million over the period; 9% higher than pre-Covid-19 levels in 2019.

McCormack said that “not a word of concern” has been expressed about the increase in passenger numbers.

He said the silence was “even more deafening when contrasted with the non-stop hectoring and criticism directed at farming in general and dairy farming, in particular”.

The ICMSA president called on the Irish government to “usefully reflect on which activity was more essential to our future: producing food or air travel for leisure”.

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ICMSA president, Pat McCormack

McCormack claimed that there is a “very casual attitude” adopted to emissions from the aviation industry.

“Farmers and anyone interested in the economic, social, and environmental welfare of rural Ireland will be very struck by the way today’s announcement by Ryanair of massively increased passenger numbers – and therefore massively increased air emissions – was greeted with an indifference that bordered on approval.

“At the same time, politicians are apparently locked in intensive debate about whether we go past the just about do-able 22% cut in agri-emissions and go into the impossible and completely destructive rates beyond that,” McCormack said.

“I’ve a question for everyone: is food as important as air travel? Because if it is then we would want to start making policy and setting targets on that basis,” the ICMSA president concluded.