Commenting on the decision of the Citizen Assembly to advocate tax on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from agriculture, the President of ICMSA has called on the Government to reject outright such a proposal given its potentially severe negative impact on family farms and the wider rural communities that farming backbones economically and also because such a tax would be completely illogical.
John Comer said that the key issue in the debate is either not being dealt with at all or being conveniently ignored, and that is that global human population continues to grow leading to an increased demand for food which will has to be produced somewhere. One this inconvenient truth is accepted then it becomes a question of where the food can be produced in the least environmentally stressful circumstances and the fact is that Ireland is one of the most climate-efficient food producers in the world and, therefore, one of the locations where food production should be encouraged – not penalised as per the Citizens Assembly. Mr. Comer pointed out that if people are serious about addressing climate change – and we all should be – then it needs to be examined at a global rather than country level and overall food production should be encouraged in those areas that can carbon-efficiently produce it – this means Ireland. He said that imposing a tax on Irish agriculture to address climate change would actually have a result completely counter to that intended by the Citizen Assembly as food production would simply move to other countries that are less efficient from a carbon perspective.
The ICMSA President said that statistical evidence on income from CSO is categorical and shows that rural areas continue to fall behind their urban and suburban counterparts with the one area that is economically powering rural areas being agriculture. Imposing an additional tax on family farms would have massively negative consequences for family farms that are already facing serious challenges both in relation to Brexit and from relentless margin-grabbing by large multiple retailers who preach climate change and sustainability but continuously their undermine primary producers.
Mr. Comer concluded by noting that Ireland already has a constitutionally appointed Citizens Assembly called Dail Eireann and it takes precedent in every way to the body that passed this counterproductive proposal over the weekend. He called on the Government appointed by that real Citizens Assembly to reject outright the proposal made on Saturday.
Ends 6 November 2017.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758ICMSA Press Office