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Cutting €10bn agri-food industry to meet climate targets is no easy task

Your editorial (December 29) on the Paris conference on global warming focused on the narrow aspect of what you call “the disproportionately powerful farm lobby”.

There is more to this issue and many more people will be affected by adjustments made to lower greenhouse gas emissions from Irish agriculture than just the farming population.

A spokesperson for An Taisce says that just one of the decisions that has to be made to meet targets is that Ireland shuts down its beef production and converts the land to forestry.

The agri-food sector is wider than just the farm lobby and produces over 230,000 jobs. It includes approximately 600 food and drinks firms throughout the country that export 85% of our food and seafood to more than 160 countries worldwide. Those exports are worth €10bn or more to the citizens of this country.

Given the economic, social and employment consequences, shutting down a large section of that industry is a big ask.

If we are to curtail that industry in order to meet our global warming targets, as advocated by many non agri-food lobbies, then the consequences in terms of the economics, the employment and the social infrastructure of many areas in this country need to be examined.

They should certainly not be excluded from the debate in the way that your editorial did.

A. Leavy

Shielmartin Drive


Dublin 13


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