Climate emergency and beef subsidies


Sir, – In the same breath as they declare a climate emergency and admit to our dismal failing to meet our CO2 reduction targets, the Government goes cap-in-hand to Europe seeking subsidies for the beef farmers.

I accept that the sector is under intense pressure, especially with the uncertainty around Brexit, and livelihoods need to be protected, but should subsidies not come in the form of grants to diversify and transition away from agricultural activities which are one of our main sources of greenhouse gases?

Shame also on Europe for agreeing to such subsidies. – Yours, etc,


Co Waterford.

Sir, – The elections for the European Parliament cannot come quickly enough. With €3 billion promised for rural broadband, and €100 million promised to the beef farmers, I fear that if the electioneering was to carry on much longer everyone living outside of a city would be promised an electric vehicle and tickets to The Late Late Toy Show. – Yours, etc,


Sandymount, Dublin 4.

Sir, – On Wednesday Richard Bruton indicated that Ireland would face fines of €100-150 million next year for failing to meet its emissions targets. The next day a €100 million support package is announced that amounts to subsidising carbon dioxide emissions from the beef sector.

Does no one see the contradiction here?

Make no mistake, beef farmers deserve support, but it should be to cut beef production, not maintain it. €100 million spent on a €200 annual payment per animal culled would cut cattle numbers by 500,000 or about 7 per cent. That is the scale of action that is actually needed to have an impact on our emissions, reduce any consequent fines and cut the oversupply that is making the beef sector unprofitable. – Yours, etc,


Ballincollig, Co Cork.

Sir, – The EU is giving €50 million to beef farmers to counteract the effects of Brexit; they are also planning to fine us for not meeting our climate change commitments. Who is fooling who? – Yours, etc,


Dundalk, Co Louth.