The “Dublin-oriented green agenda” on the environment is “going to finish the Fine Gael party”, a former minister has told a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting.
Former minister for rural and community development Michael Ring told the meeting, which was held specifically to discuss this week’s announcement of the two five-year carbon budgets, that he “thought he was at the Green Party parliamentary party meeting”.
Mr Ring said he “did not like what he’s hearing” about the carbon budgets, which he said was harming rural Ireland.
He questioned why Ireland was importing food or briquettes and said that he “did not know what he was going to sell to farmers” on the Climate Action Plan.
He said that he was “worried” about the party’s future because of its handling of climate transition.
Cork South West-based senator Tim Lombard told the meeting that the agriculture section was facing challenges with carbon budgets, nitrate action, and CAP reform.
He said all three were impacting rural communities and had to be discussed together.
He said CAP reforms would “move money from the south and east to the west”.
He raised concerns that the carbon budgets would lead to a decrease in the national herd and criticised Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue for “having a crack off [predecessors] Simon Coveney and Michael Creed”.
He said that the agriculture portfolio was lacking the “ambition” to protect food industries.
Carlow Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan said the party “needs some wins” in the short term. He said that it would be helpful if Environment Minister Eamon Ryan “got around” to telling microgenerators of electricity how they can access the national grid.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the meeting that his industry portfolio would