Monday 27 February 2017

FF senators 'will block climate bill to get back at Greens'

Allison Bray and Aideen Sheehan

MORE than a dozen Fianna Fail senators are threatening to derail the Climate Change Bill, according to Senator Shane Ross.

The independent senator tweeted on his Twitter account last night that: "Fourteen FF senators have now resolved to vote against the Climate Change Bill."

"The Greens will go ape! Their prize Bill is in danger," he wrote as the controversial bill was due to be debated in the Seanad.

The bill, championed by the Green Party, aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 28pc by 2020.

But it is becoming an increasingly divisive issue with their coalition partners.

And after the Green Party vowed to vote against the Government following Taoiseach Brian Cowen's aborted cabinet re-shuffle on Thursday, the FF senators appeared to be using the bill in a tit-for-tat revenge tactic, the senator said.

Misleading

"This is a big flashpoint," he said.

Meanwhile, farmers yesterday accused Environment Minister John Gormley of misleading the public about their stance on the bill, which they insisted would damage food production here.

Irish Farmers Association (IFA) president John Bryan rejected Mr Gormley's claim that the IFA had expressed no difficulty with the bill at a meeting with him last month.

Asked about FF opposition to it, Mr Gormley said there had been misrepresentations about the bill.

"We had a very good meeting with the IFA and there were no difficulties," he said on RTE radio. "It was then, if you like, ratcheted up by IBEC and the figures were wrong."

Mr Gormley said no amendments had been made to mitigate the impact of the bill on agriculture, but he believed FF senators would support the bill after being more fully briefed on it by an adviser to the Taoiseach.

However Mr Bryan said there was no confusion in the clear message given to Mr Gormley and his colleagues at their meeting in December.

The IFA's proposal was to abandon the targets set for agriculture as they were unattainable, with Teagasc and other research highlighting their damaging effects.

"If there's any confusion or delusion in relation to this Climate Change Bill it is not with IFA," Mr Bryan said.

Irish Independent

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