The ST have had a couple of good articles recently regarding the increasing criticism the government is coming under from the farming sector about potential changes to Irish Farming as a result of meeting emissions targets.
There was a good one on Richard Bruton's dealings with the IFA last week and this week, Conor Brady has an opinion piece about it:
This is going to have big repercussions for farming in Ireland in the coming years. We could be looking at a considerable reduction in the size of the national herd to try and meet these targets and that is going to have massive consequences for people involved in that sector. Loss of livelihood, decimation of the rural economy etc."This will not be easily achieved. Some sense of what is looming might be gleaned from the angry farmer response when Leo Varadkar, the taoiseach, suggested he might eat less meat in future. Or it might be measured in the recent exchanges between the environment minister Richard Bruton and the Irish Farmer's Association ( IFA ). There must be a change "in the way farming thinks about itself", Bruton declared, only to be met with flat rejection, led by the IFA president Joe Healy, who asserts that agriculture is being "unfairly singled out" in the national mitigation plan to cut emissions.
Bruton was calmly reasonable, and acknowledged the considerable progress in reducing emissions already made by the farm sector. Yet he was also firm, telling farmers they "cannot say no to every policy tool that is being developed". The state simply cannot meet a €5.5 Billion penalty if it fails to curb emissions, the minister emphasised. And Ireland is at the bottom of the European league in emissions control"
It will also mean loss of trade for Ireland to other countries.
The farming sector have been a fairly loyal constituency for FG in particular, but that could all change in the next few years. You could see farmers deserting FG over this.
Urban TDs naturally won't care too much, but rural TDs could be really under the cosh ( with apologies to Liam Neeson ). I'm thinking of the likes of Patrick O'Donovan ( FG Limerick West ), Michael Creed ( FG Cork North West ), David Stanton ( FG Cork East ), Brendan Griffin ( FG Kerry ), Both FG TDs in Clare, Both FG TDs in Wexford and many others.
Conor Brady: Big Farmer canā€™t stop the winds of change | Ireland | The Sunday Times