Carbon taxes will destroy rural economy, say IFA and ICMSA
The IFA and ICMSA have hit out at the possibility of carbon taxes being introduced to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The farm organisations' comments follow warnings from Richard Bruton, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, that Ireland is "far off course" in achieving its CO2 reduction targets.
Ireland is facing massive fines because of its failure to meet strict EU targets, and Minister Bruton said that imposing carbon taxes will be among a suite of measures aimed at controlling emissions.
However, ICMSA president Pat McCormack said the reality of farming's importance to the rural economy must be given equal consideration to the "scientific and environmental reality" of climate change.
"Farming and food production is not just a part of the rural economy; to a huge degree it is the total of our rural economy, and undermining it through fuel tax hikes will simply destroy the only meaningful economy in whole swathes of the state outside the cities and larger towns," said Mr McCormack.
IFA environment chairman Thomas Cooney said farmers were totally opposed to carbon taxes on the sector, which he said would directly impact on "farming's competitiveness without reducing climate emissions".
"Farmers in Ireland have a proud record as carbon-efficient food producers. We can and will do more, particularly in the resource efficiency and renewables areas.
"However, this depends on strong Government support and a fully funded CAP to meet the increased environmental and climate requirements," Mr Cooney said.