The Rural Independent Dáil group led by Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath has expressed outrage at any planned reduction in the numbers of cows in Ireland. The reaction comes following revelations that a confidential Department of Agriculture briefing paper, prepared for Minister Charlie McConalogue in late 2022, outlines how the sector can ‘close the gap’ in meeting emission targets set by the three government parties. Agriculture is to reduce it’s emissions by 25% by 2030 under Ireland’s Climate Action Plan
Deputy McGrath is adamant that Irish food production should not be reduced in this way only to have market demand met by imported produce.
The Department document outlines that the cull of 65,000 cows by 2025 at a cost of €200M would help the sector to achieve a reduction in emissions. The paper also contemplates initiating a ‘test case’ dairy exit scheme, potentially followed by a diversification or extensification scheme for suckler beef producers as well.