Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Seanad scraps controversial climate change bill

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

The controversial climate change bill has been moth-balled following its axing from today's Seanad agenda.

The legislation, which had been championed by the Green Party, was due for its second-stage debate and vote in the Seanad today.

However, the Greens' dramatic exit from Government on Sunday has left an orphaned bill, which was struggling to generate support from either Government or Opposition benches.

The bill proposed increasing Ireland's targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from 20pc to 30pc by 2020, with further increases planned in subsequent years, but it was widely criticised by farming organisations, IBEC, Opposition TDs and the Dáil agriculture committee.

Despite the opposition, Green Party representatives insisted on pushing ahead with the bill, which the IFA estimated would cost the Irish economy €4bn in lost export earnings.

However, Senator Diarmuid Wilson, the Government's chief whip in the Seanad, confirmed that it would not be up for discussion today.

"Now it effectively disappears," he said, adding that he didn't expect it to be part of the next Government's agenda.

The move will come as a huge relief to farmers who had feared that the legislation would curb any possibility of future expansion in agriculture.


An IFA spokesman said the decision not to place the climate change legislation on the agenda was the only sensible option.

"This legislation could not be rushed through given the damaging implications for the agri-food sector," said the spokesman. "The potential identified in Food Harvest for export growth of €4bn would have been derailed. Given that agriculture will have a pivotal role in the country's economic recovery, it made no sense to pursue this legislation.

"There is broad agreement across the agri-food sector, as evidenced by the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture's view, that it would have been hugely detrimental to force this through."

ICMSA president Jackie Cahill added: "It was nothing but anti-farmer and the quiet falling of this incredibly stupid act of national economic sabotage was just about the only piece of good news that the Irish people had received in the past few chaotic weeks."

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