Michael Fitzmaurice TD has spoken out against the proposals made at the recent Citizens Assembly on climate change.
In total 89% of the Assembly voted to introduce a new tax on greenhouse gas emissions from Agricultural practices. Michael Fitzmaurice said this was a “lopsided view” and says it is a “worrying development”.
“It is a worrying development for the simple reason...that one in seven people rely on agriculture, be it farming or non-farming, i.e working in factorie,s” he said.
Fitzmaurice said they are simply looking to push another charge on top of the farming community. He says it is a counterproductive measure, with countries such as the US walking away from the Paris agreement and also South American countries getting rid of huge forests to make way for farmland.
“It would put us at a huge disadvantage.”, he said.
Fitzmaurice also said the comments at the Assembly to plant most of the West of Ireland would be the “death” of family farms and the West of Ireland.
“Are we going to be the scapegoat in all of this”, he added.
Michael said the farmers who have planted land in the West of Ireland are not currently not entitled to the carbon credits off it, which he feels is not fair. He says this is done to favour people and businesses in the cities or towns, rather than rural Ireland as it should be.
“What the government are doing is using people’s private property...which is favouring someone is a city of a town” said Michael.
“It’ll be soon like the Water with the group water schemes. They get you through tax one way and swipe it another way”, he warned.
Michael said this is not affordable, especially in the farming community with beef prices on a downward trend.
“What are we going to do? Are Ireland going to be the leader in something (climate change) it cannot afford? He questioned.
Michael said in order to meet government environmental targets he and his associates have estimated to cost in the region of €40 billion.
“I think €40 billion would be an accurate figure over the next ten years” he said
“We cannot afford the budget at the moment of nearly one billion never mind €40billion”, he said.
Michael also said are now facing into a situation where we will be subsidizing the likes of Bord na Mona as well as the Transport industry, which he says is not fair. He again said we are subsidizing the mammoth deforestations for agriculture in Brazil, which he described as “madness”.
“This is the madness that is going on at the moment. The Assembly it is known, that there are only something like 67 farmers in it. I am looking for the breakdown of who was living in towns or cities, as an unbalanced debate obviously took place.” he concluded.