Farm Ireland

Monday 11 December 2017

Could this be the end of ’green diesel’?

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The continued availability of ‘green diesel’ is important to rural Ireland with IFA President Joe Healy describing it as ‘fuel that keeps rural Ireland alive’.

In an Oireachtas Committee debate recently the 'pros' and 'cons' of agricultural diesel were discussed.

Sinn Fein TD Peadar Tobin said the use of two types of diesel creates a space in which criminals can operate.

“This causes difficulties and generates significant policing costs.

“An argument has been made for having one type of diesel and allowing farmers to apply for rebates, perhaps on a bimonthly basis.

“Under the proposed scheme, farmers would continue to pay the same costs for diesel as they did for diesel for agricultural purposes.

“At the same time, the scope for criminal activity would be eliminated and the €600 million annual cost of policing the issue would no longer arise.

Tobin said he accepts, that it would give rise to cashflow challenges for farmers as they would have to wait for a rebate.

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Tobin Chairman of the Oireachtas Select Committee on Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht consulted the Irish Farmers Association on the matter.

Responding, Thomas Cooney IFA’s Environment Chairman said the proposal has been examined and the IFA believes it would be difficult to administer.

“A farm family may have a number of cars and some family members could be employed elsewhere, which means the exemption could be abused,” he said.

Cooney said the marker in diesel has been improved and he said the IFA has been informed that the use of laundered diesel has declined as a result.

“The proposed scheme would create a cashflow problem initially and farmers are already experiencing problems accessing finance.

“The scheme would impose a serious burden on agricultural contractors who cut silage in June and this burden would fall back on the farmer, creating an additional cashflow problem,” he highlighted.

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