Cheese and Ireland’s climate debate

 

A chara, – Why is a Dutch company planning to make Dutch cheeses for the continental market in Ireland? This question was posed at the heart of a most illuminating and disturbing article “Cheese plant raises stink in Ireland’s Climate debate” by Eoin Burke-Kennedy in the Business section on May 24th.

In response to this question, the article goes behind the scenes of An Taisce’s opposition, on environmental grounds, to the planning permission that has been granted for the €150 million cheese manufacturing plant – a joint venture by Glanbia and Dutch company Royal A-ware in Belview in Co Kilkenny.

The answer to this pertinent question reveals that, in The Netherlands, “a massive ramping up of production since the lifting of EU milk quotas in 2015 has had a disastrous impact on the environment” which has forced the Dutch government, under pressure from the EU, “to cull part of its dairy herd while imposing strict phosphate quotas on dairy farmers”.

The article further reveals that “The Dutch company isn’t the only European dairy group using Ireland as a workaround to bypass domestic controls on agricultural production” – as Norway’s largest co-op, Tine, teamed up with Dairygold in 2016 to produce a Norwegian cheese in Dairygold’s Mogeely plant in east Cork.

The Government published an ambitious Climate Action Bill in March of this year to reduce harmful emissions.

Agriculture is responsible for a third or more of these in Ireland and this figure is rising as the national herd numbers are increasing.

Will our political leaders have the vision to take the difficult decisions that must be made here and globally to halt climate change disaster?

Or will politicians, keeping an eye on the next election, dodge the pressing issues and take the short-sighted view? – Is mise,

MARY

McCARRICK,

Rathgar,

Dublin 6.