Independent TD, Danny Healy-Rae, has warned that if the government implements the Climate Action Bill in its current form, it will adversely impact “every man, woman and child in rural Ireland”.
During a Dáil debate yesterday (Wednesday, April 21st), he outlined its implications for Ireland, including its agricultural sector, if enacted.
In his opening address, he commented on carbon charge increases and stressed that “ordinary, honest people will have to pay more to heat their homes and are being told they cannot burn turf or timber”.
“They are being told they must insulate their homes and put in heat pumps and air-to-water systems that are very costly. Where will ordinary working people get the money required?” he told the Dáil.
“It can be up to €40,000 to do these kinds of jobs. I am referring to poor people who are not working and people on small incomes who are struggling as it is.”
“Already, the waiting period for a deep retrofit, for those who qualify, is more than 18 months and can even be two years. We should remember it is only people on the fuel allowance who will qualify for it.”
Agriculture in Ireland
He warned that farmers’ incomes will be “reduced as they will have to reduce their herds and pay more carbon tax on diesel”.
Furthermore, according to the deputy, under this bill, by 2030, farmers will have to reduce their herds by 51%.
“I have heard Fianna Fáil Deputies contradicting that and saying we were scaremongering. We are not scaremongering; we are telling the truth, and that is [the] truth about it. Teagasc, formerly ACOT, has advised farmers for the past 40 years to increase their herds.”
“In 2013, the former Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Coveney, told dairy farmers to increase their herds and that milk was the new white gold.”
“He told us the Chinese would drink it. I think they do not like it at all now. Now the Government in which Deputy Coveney is still a Minister is telling us to cut production by more than 50% by 2030.”
“The minister stated that farmers who do their best to cut down on carbon emissions and have hedges and ground that sequester carbon will be accounted for, but it will take seven years to measure that.”
“In the meantime, notwithstanding that, all the farmers who do not produce any CO2 and those who sequester more CO2 than they produce will, after the bill is enacted, pay more in carbon tax.”
He noted that farmers have made “great strides” to improve their farms environmentally over recent years. He drew attention to the nitrates directive and storing and spreading slurry safely and properly, with low emissions, vacuum tankers, trailing shoes, and dribble bars.
“The Chinese and other Asians are building more coal-burning power stations to produce electricity. Africa, India, China, and other Asian countries can use ordinary, reliable diesel engines in machinery, while we have to use the Euro 6 engine. The Chinese are building coal-burning stations and we are closing our turf-burning peat stations in Bord na Móna.”
“In normal times, outside of the pandemic, at any one time, there are 7,000 aeroplanes in the sky. Are they going to be operated by electric batteries? Where will they be plugged in in the sky? How long will it take to charge these aeroplanes?”
“The farmer, however, will have to get an electric tractor to spread slurry by 2027. Where are the Fianna Fáil Deputies who said that is not in the Bill? It certainly is.”
“The Government need not try to cod the people because it will not get away with it. There will be nothing for the good tractors that farmers have but to send them to Hammond Lane for scrap. That is where they will end up.”
“After all the efforts of the Minister, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, in respect of the Bill, by how much will they reduce the global temperature? What mathematical modules is the Government using?”
“It is scaremongering. This is just another tax. The Minister must know that the global temperature has reduced by less than 1% since 1850. That is a fact. If we all left this country, closed the doors, and turned off all the lights, it would reduce global emissions by only 0.13%, and that is a fact.”
Concluding, the deputy accused the government in Ireland of “trying to drive” “ordinary, good honest people who are trying to survive, down to the ground”.