Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 27 February 2017

Shelve carbon tax plan to save jobs urges IFA

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

IRELAND should follow the lead of France and suspend its decision to introduce a carbon tax, the IFA has claimed.

Association president John Bryan said such a move would assist the country regain competitiveness.

He said the collective cost of the draconian tax would take €330m out of the economy, and cost thousands of jobs in the energy-intensive farming and agri-sector and other export-oriented industries.

"The fact that France has taken the decision not to introduce a carbon tax unless there is agreement on a European Union-wide levy is a clear signal that the Irish Government must do the same," Mr Bryan insisted.

"The French realise that a carbon tax introduced unilaterally will negatively affect the competitiveness of their industry and exports."

The carbon tax on agri-diesel is due to be introduced on May 1. It will cost farmers an additional 4.7c/l and the IFA estimates that this will push up farm production costs by around €13.2m a year.

The IFA president predicted that most of the income generated from the tax will be used to pay the dole to those who lose their jobs as a result of the tax undermining competitiveness.

"The carbon tax will further increase farm production costs, especially in the grain sector which is struggling to survive.

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"It is simply an additional cost on production for farmers as no alternative fuels are available and farmers cannot pass on the extra cost to the market."

Meanwhile, the decision to include the Department of Agriculture in future consultations on biofuel policy has been welcomed by Fine Gael. Last week the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan, signalled his intention to amend the Energy Bill 2010 to include the Department of Agriculture in the consultation process.

"The fact that the minister has seen sense in including the Department of Agriculture in future consultations with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the National Standards Authority of Ireland is a giant step in the right direction," said Fine Gael's Seanad spokesperson on Agriculture, Senator Paul Bradford.

"The introduction of biofuels into the fuel mix is good for every citizen from an environmental perspective, but it is important that we use the opportunity presented here to develop a genuine native biofuels industry as best we can," he added.

"The fostering of such an industry in Ireland will make a difference to motorists and people in the transport industry, which is correct from an environmental perspective.

"However, we must ensure that it will be of significant assistance to Irish agriculture and the creation of jobs in rural Ireland."

Irish Independent