Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has said comments from Minister Charlie McConalogue regarding the ownership of carbon credits resulting from forestry, were ‘deeply concerning from a Minister that is presiding over a forestry participation crisis’.
Teachta Carthy said that if farmers are to be encouraged to enter forestry then they must have ownership of the associated carbon credits.
Minister McConalogue’s suggestion that farmers will not own carbon credits will drive potential participants further away than ever from afforestation.
The Cavan/Monaghan TD said:
“Many farmers are refusing to enter the programme because of the negative experiences of existing participants. The comments from Minister McConalogue regarding carbon credits will potentially make the situation worse.
“It is apparent that carbon credits will play a role in our response to the climate crisis. This can act as an incentive for new farmers to engage in afforestation.
“But, for the Minister to announce in a throw-away remark that farmers do not own these credits and that there will have to be ‘discussion’ on the matter is deeply concerning.
“The contracts that farmers have signed with the state have no mention whatsoever of carbon credits.
“The Minister should be examining ways to encourage additional farmers into forestry, not exacerbating those who are already participating. This is just the latest example of incredibly poor communication and consultation from the department.
“There is a crisis in forestry, within the licensing system and in terms of new afforestation levels.
“The Minister is presiding over this crisis. He needs to get it sorted. Unfortunately, he has introduced a new area of concern for those who might be considering an entry into forestry.
“He now needs to immediately outline the basis on which he believes that farmers do not own these credits and also outline how he intends to lead ‘discussions’ with the most important stakeholder in the sector.”