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Irish Government Leaders Fail to Reach Agreement on Agriculture Emissions Reduction Targets

The three coalition leaders have failed to reach an agreement on agriculture emissions targets this evening.

This evening’s meeting between Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister Eamon Ryan comes ahead of tomorrow morning’s Cabinet meeting, which was expected to hammer out the final details on emission targets for all sectors.

The current roadblock is coming from the agricultural sector, which was given draft emission reduction ranges between 22% and 30%, which were the lowest of any sector despite its high emissions.

However, it’s understood that the meeting between the three party leaders has ended without a deal being struck on emission reduction in the agriculture sector.

Negotiations are now expected to continue tonight and again tomorrow morning ahead of Cabinet.

However, a senior Government source said that it was hard to say whether or not a deal could be done.

Earlier today, Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said that while discussions between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Environment are still ongoing, he hoped that an agreement could be reached before Cabinet tomorrow.

“Discussions are ongoing in relation to that and we would like to see an agreement reached and approved by cabinet tomorrow,” said McGrath, speaking on Morning Ireland.

However, he did say that the issue could be kicked down the road further if an agreement is not reached before tomorrow.

“It may be the case that it will take a further period of discussion in order to reach agreement.”

The Journal reported last week that Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue met with Ryan over the targets, telling him that “impossible” targets would undermine the sector’s “green image”.

The Climate Action Plan, which was published last November, set out the draft ranges for emission reduction targets for multiple sectors, including electricity generation, transport, industry and agriculture.

Cabinet need to approve the specific targets for each individual sector, but due to divisions within the coalition and resistance from the agriculture sector itself for targets above 22%, there have been lengthy negotiations between the Department of Environment and the Department of Agriculture.

Some Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael backbench TDs are concerned about the targets, with many seeking for targets to be as close to 22% as possible.

Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill is among the TDs fighting against the 30% target, previously telling RTÉ Radio One that there is “buy-in” among farmers for a 22% reduction.

Source: https://www.thejournal.ie/government-emission-targets-5826231-Jul2022/

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