Dairy farmers fury at carbon tax

The Irish Dairy Industries Association has attacked plans for a carbon tax as 'uncompetitive' while claiming to support the drive for a low carbon economy.

Ireland introduced a carbon tax, equal to 15 euros a tonne, last year in December which immediately increased the cost of petrol and diesel, while home heating oil and gas bills will go up this May.

However, Irish business leaders want the plan scrapped claiming it will give the ‘advantage’ to imported food products and place more jobs ‘at risk’ in the food sector.

IDIA director, Michael Barry said: “A carbon tax will inflate the cost of domestically produced food products relative to imports.

“The imported equivalent will not be hit with the same taxes and have a competitive advantage over domestically-produced food.

“The tax will increase costs at all stages of the food production process, the farmer will pay a carbon tax on the fuel used in producing the food; the transportation of raw materials will be taxed; food processing will be subject to a carbon tax and packaging, storage and distribution will be taxed.”

“The dairy industry supports the ambition to create a low carbon economy in Ireland, but the revenues collected from a carbon tax must be used to reduce costs for business. This tax would do little to enhance overall sustainability and risks giving advantage to cheap food imports.”

Irish finance minister, Brian Lenihan, said: “The economic and social implications of climate change are immense and it is the responsibility of governments everywhere to change behaviour to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

“A vouched fuel allowance scheme will be developed to offset the increases for low income families dependant on such fuels.

“The yield from the carbon tax will be used to boost energy efficiency, to support rural transport and to alleviate fuel poverty.

“The tax changes reflect my belief that tax can make some contribution to the reduction of the deficit, and will make a larger contribution in later years.”

Luke Walsh

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