Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy has claimed that his party does not have access to the information it would need to adequately inform a decision on farming’s emissions reduction target, despite it having sought such data.

The information, Deputy Carthy said, included reports and financial assessments of the impact of emission reduction targets within the 22% to 30% range and which “hasn’t been made available” to Sinn Féin on request.

“In fact, we have sought copies of the reports that have been used, the consultants that have been availed of and the publication of the modelling and economic analysis that the Department have. And they haven’t provided that at all,” he told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture.

'Zero information'

“I would have hoped that today would have been an opportunity for us to get additional information, but, instead, we have a two-page opening statement from the Department of the Environment that provides precisely zero additional information and makes it impossible for us to be able to have a considered opinion of what could be the defining issue of the sector which we are charged with monitoring,” Deputy Carthy said.

The TDs and senators on the Oireachtas committee were hearing from officials from both the Department of Environment and the Department of Agriculture, as negotiations on the targets were set to get under way.

Carthy also criticised the approach taken in the climate action bill, which he said sees Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan holding sway over the decision, leaving Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to be merely “consulted” on the figure.

No plan in place

Carthy remarked that there was no plan laying out the specific measures that each percentage reduction in emissions would entail for farmers.

This, he argued, left the Government in a situation where “targets are being set without a baseline plan” to achieve them, leading the State to continue its record of not meeting the environmental targets it sets.

“It’s very likely, chair, that this year will see the lowest level of afforestation since the 1940s, since the middle of WW2,” he claimed, adding that this was to happen “under a Green party minister”.