Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Select Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Animal Health and Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021: Committee Stage

Photo of Michael FitzmauriceMichael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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We were finished discussing my question. The Minister has established that it is going in on the 8,000 ha even though it is not commercial. There is no point in calling votes here because the result will be six to four no matter what we do but I have the right to table an amendment on this matter on Report Stage.

The Minister talked about a width of 20 m. Only 20 m or less is not counted as part of the carbon sequestration survey. I understood that one could do 40 m, 50 m or whatever equals a hectare. Is one allowed to do that?

Almost every type of tree is allowed bar spruce. Will the Minister consider adding spruce? Pine is allowed. I used to work in forests and above all timbers pine is probably one of the worst type of timber to grow because it grows crooked and does everything that one does not want it to do compared with spruce. Farmers should have the option to grow spruce. We have seen in shelter belts, and I have said this in the Dáil, that one could have a spruce in a corner of a field but it could be 30 m or 40 m wide so one could go around in a semi-circle,.and one could have a few of them.

Anyone who is used to farming will know that one could have bits of land that are a few miles apart. If lands are in separate parcels is one allowed to put a hectare into different parcels or is the scheme based on a herd number? Is there an establishment grant?

I am raising these issues here so that I can table amendments when this legislation reaches the Dáil. I hope that the Department will have these issues teased out before we reach that stage. We have talked to representatives of the industry today, and over the last couple of days as we got more information on this matter, who have expressed their fear that this is a fixer job for the 8,000 ha. I will table an amendment that 1 ha, of what the Minister is calling non-commercial now, will be kept in a separate inventory to the commercial and that the 8,000 ha will be judged as a commercial operation.

I ask the Minister to address my points. I advise Ms Sarah O'Farrell, clerk to the committee, and the committee that I have raised this matter here so that I can table an amendment on Report Stage as there is no point in anyone calling votes today when we have not received amendments back.