Fan­ci­ful pro­posal for green­house gas charge on farm­ers is a recipe for higher food prices

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - OPINION -

SIR, Af­ter mak­ing ex­treme rec­om­men­da­tions on abor­tion, the Cit­i­zens As­sem­bly has re­cently ex­pressed equally ex­treme views on cli­mate change as it per­tains to Ire­land in the area of agri­cul­ture and trans­port.

The sug­ges­tions that the farm­ing com­mu­nity should pay for the green­house gases that their ac­tiv­i­ties pro­duce would im­pact greatly on their vi­a­bil­ity and on the cost of food pro­duc­tion, which in turn would have ma­jor im­pli­ca­tions for the whole econ­omy, em­ploy­ment and the less well-off mem­bers of our so­ci­ety. If the views ex­pressed by the Cit­i­zens As­sem­bly be­come a re­al­ity and are en­forced it will mean that farm­ers will need to re­ceive higher prices for their pro­duce, which will have the knock-on ef­fect of higher food prices across a wide range of food prod­ucts for every­one.

It is easy for the Cit­i­zens As­sem­bly to come up with fan­ci­ful opin­ions that at­tract me­dia head­lines with­out ac­tu­ally con­sid­er­ing their fi­nan­cial and prac­ti­cal im­pli­ca­tions on how those opin­ions will af­fect the farm­ing com­mu­nity, many of whom are strug­gling to make ends meet due to the costs and the many vari­ables as­so­ci­ated with their en­ter­prises along with the many bu­reau­cratic rules and reg­u­la­tions that they are al­ready ex­pected to con­form to.

Any­one from ru­ral Ire­land with com­mon sense ought to be flab­ber­gasted at the sided views ex­pressed by this group. It is dif­fi­cult to be­lieve that it is in any way rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the peo­ple who will be ex­pected to face the cost of putting their sug­ges­tions into prac­tice, in this in­stance the farmer on the ground.

One won­ders what back­grounds are the mem­bers of the Cit­i­zens As­sem­bly drawn from and are any of them from the farm­ing com­mu­nity or even from ru­ral Ire­land.

Some of the changes pro­posed in the area of trans­port may be work­able in the ci­ties and larger towns but are not prac­ti­cal for ru­ral Ire­land. In any case, it is es­ti­mated that sign­ing up to what are unattain­able tar­gets on elim­i­nat­ing trans­port emis­sions will cost the econ­omy €40 – €50 bil­lion over the next 10 years to make the nec­es­sary changes, the cost of which will have to be paid for by the peo­ple.

What­ever the fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tions may be on the is­sue of cli­mate change in the area of trans­port and agri­cul­ture, it ought to be in­cum­bent on our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all sides – the ma­jor­ity of whom are from ru­ral Ire­land – to come out of their Le­in­ster house bub­ble into the real world and state clearly where they stand on the pro­pos­als, due to the fi­nan­cial hard­ship these rec­om­men­da­tions will cause.

Even though the Repub­lic of Ire­land is merely a dot on the map of the world and has less pop­u­la­tion than many ci­ties in the UK and Europe, it ap­pears we have an in­flated sense of our­selves in that we must be seen to be lead­ers in im­ple­ment­ing in­ter­na­tional stan­dards in all ar­eas across the board at any cost.

In any case, it is time that those work­ing the land took back con­trol of that land from the bu­reau­crats and groups like the Cit­i­zens As­sem­bly and do what our an­ces­tors did and farm by the weather and not by cal­en­dar dates as is be­ing dic­tated by our politi­cians, to pre­vent ru­ral Ire­land be­com­ing a waste­land and merely a tourist at­trac­tion.

Sin­cerely,

Christy Kelly, Tem­pleglan­tine.

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