Fanciful proposal for greenhouse gas charge on farmers is a recipe for higher food prices
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.
Christy Kelly, Templeglantine.