Dáil debates

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

3:05 pm

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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It has been agreed that for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, the rapporteur's report will be taken as read. Are the proposed arrangements for business this week agreed to?

Photo of Michael CollinsMichael Collins (Cork South West, Independent)
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They are not agreed. I would like us to set some time aside this week to discuss climate action and the difference in the opinions of the Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan, the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach on the culling of cattle in this country and the effect this will have on rural Ireland and agriculture, particularly dairy and suckler herds. The experts on the quango special advisory council put in place by the Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan, are making it clear there will be a cull of cattle in this country. The Minister is totally delusional and continues to be in denial about this.

We must a have proper and full debate in the House on this as there is concern that 50,000 jobs will be in jeopardy. People with suckler and dairy herds in this country are worried about what the outcome will be.

3:15 pm

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Do any other Members wish to contribute on the Order of Business?

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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We are happy to have a debate on that matter. It would obviously have to be scheduled by the Business Committee. We are happy to have a debate on climate issues and the impact on agriculture and other sectors. If it cannot be accommodated this week, it will be next week when Members will have the benefit of considering the Government's climate action plan. Let me be clear: there will not be any cull of the herd. That is not a proposal in the climate action plan.

Photo of Michael CollinsMichael Collins (Cork South West, Independent)
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It goes against the advice of the council.

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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We anticipate herd stabilisation over the next number of years. Some farmers may increase the number of animals they keep, while others may decrease the numbers because they decide to diversify into other areas such as planting trees, engaging with carbon farming and so on We expect, in the round, to see herd stabilisation with the national herd staying at roughly the same size as it is at now. A 10% reduction - not 30% - in bovine methane can be achieved over a ten-year period. Let there be no doubt that the Government believes that Ireland without its beef industry would not be Ireland. Ireland without its dairy sector would not be Ireland. We are proud of the fact that we are able to produce nine times as much food as we need and we will continue doing that.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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On a point of clarification.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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No, you can only have one opportunity to speak.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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It is on a point of clarification. The Tánaiste keeps using the words "stabilising the national herd".

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not a point of clarification.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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Will he please stop using misleading language? That is like "reconfiguration of the health service". It is outrageous and he is codding the farmers of Ireland by coming out with that type of statement. Stabilisation means a cut. I ask the Tánaiste to call it what it is.

Photo of Michael CollinsMichael Collins (Cork South West, Independent)
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The Deputy is correct.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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He should use plain language and not gobbledygook.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I will use plain language now. The Deputy is out of order. Does anyone else wish to speak on the Order of Business? If not, I will take it that the proposed arrangements for the week's business is agreed to, insofar as the Tánaiste has accepted there will be a debate on this matter in the near future. Is that agreed?

Photo of Michael CollinsMichael Collins (Cork South West, Independent)
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It is not agreed. I would like a proper debate on this.

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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Oral questions will include climate change.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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In addition, Deputy Holly Cairns has had a Topical Issue matter selected on the same issue.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with this week's business be agreed to."

The Dáil divided: Tá, 25; Níl, 20; Staon, 0.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Jack Chambers and Brendan Griffin; Níl, Deputies Michael Collins and Danny Healy-Rae.

Question declared carried.