The President of ICMSA, John Comer, said that two things had emerged very clearly from the recent spate and widespread flooding damage. He said that, firstly, it is now perfectly clear that the current ad-hoc system where multiple and overlapping agencies attempt to deal with these increasingly frequent floods is just wholly inadequate. It was all very well, he observed, to hear Minister Kelly maintain that OPW will remain the lead agency in responding to these disasters but we are still left with the nub of the problem which is that we demonstrably have too many cooks in this particular kitchen.
“Though I don’t doubt that all the agencies pull together when the floods occur my suspicion is that the real damage is done when there isn’t an emergency and these agencies resume their normal business-as-usual attitude that has them guarding their own patches and working to a much more narrow agenda – that’s the problem and that’s what we need address by setting up a single authority specifically to deal with and prevent flooding. The second point is more fundamental and will have enormous long-term implications for Ireland and particularly food-producing areas like Limerick that accounts for probably 8.5% of all the milk produced in this state. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change is going to pose serious questions around Irish agriculture and while we note the statement contained in the text that the process will go forward “in a manner that does not threaten food production” the devil here is very definitely going to be in the detail with undoubted ramifications for Irish agriculture, generally, and milk production in our dairy heartlands, specifically,” said Mr Comer.
“We’re a country that produces food very efficiently from a carbon emissions perspective so it would be a little illogical and counter-productive to impose restrictions on our food production if that production then simply moves elsewhere to a location with – in 90% of the cases – higher carbon emissions and a more stressful impact on the environment. I firmly believe that, with future advancements in technology, Irish agriculture will become more even efficient and our farmers will continue to adopt best-practice in relation to climate change. Farmers will do our part but we’d ask for logic to work here so that we don’t see nonsensical rules based on national borders when the science says that food production should continue in those locations best suited – such as Ireland.. The Paris agreement has now been concluded and it is now supremely important that Ireland negotiates an agreement at EU level that is based on science and that does not impose severe and unfair restrictions on Irish farmers based on some across-the-board cut that does not factor-in suitability and measurable environmental impact”, said Mr Comer.
Ends 21 December 2015.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office