Farmers will need “substantial financial supports” to assist in the transition to more sustainable practices, according to senator Victor Boyhan.

The independent senator was commenting on the Climate Bill and farming in the Seanad this morning (Monday, March 29).

Speaking on the publication of the Climate Action Bill, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the measures in the Climate Action Bill would create “tens of thousands of new ‘green’ jobs” and increase employment in agriculture.

Senator Boyhan, who is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, said he welcomed such news but cautioned government not to underestimate the scale of the challenge for farmers, adding:

Farmers know agriculture and climate change are inextricably linked. Farmers have ambitions too, not just to produce food, but to do so in a sustainable and productive manner.

On this point, he stressed: “Farmers will need substantial financial supports to assist them transition to new and more sustainable practices as part of climate mitigation measures proposed by government, as part of a just transition package.

“’Just Transition’ is not an optional policy extra for the Irish government, but a legally binding obligation resulting from Ireland’s adoption of the Paris Agreement.

“Under the Just Transition Mechanism, priority must be given to addressing the economic and social costs of climate transition – climate justice,” he said, adding:

Climate justice is an ethical and political issue, rather than one that is purely environmental.

Concluding, the senator commended all members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change “for their extensive work on pre-legislative scrutiny of the bill”.

The bill is now due to go to the Dáil Eireann and the Seanad Éireann for further debate and possible amendment.