The government has been accused of “completely mocking” the plan to use carbon tax revenues as an incentive for greener agriculture after spending almost € 50 million instead on funding welfare increases over the next year.
Budget documents show how € 49 million originally intended to decarbonise the agricultural sector will instead be used to fund social benefits for people at risk of energy poverty.
An increase in the CO2 tax by € 7.50 per tonne of CO2 combined with rising energy costs led the government to increase the fuel allowance payment in the 2022 budget by € 5 to € 33 per week.
Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue has promised that the full € 1.5 billion in decarbonization incentives will be made available to farmers over the course of future budgets.
Budget documents indicate that the 1.5 billion
However, the postponement of the use of 49 million euros in funds for agriculture has sparked criticism from the opposition and the peasantry.
Sligo-Leitrim Independent TD Marian Harkin criticizes the overall package for farming in the home. She said the purpose of the carbon tax is to encourage people to change their behavior in the fight against climate change and to use some of the proceeds to decarbonise agriculture.
“Not doing that makes a complete mockery of what the carbon tax is all about,” Ms. Harkin told the Irish Times. She asked if the Department of Agriculture was ready to introduce incentives for greener agriculture next year and expressed concern that that money would not start flowing until the new CAP starts in 2023.
“How are farmers supposed to cut emissions in the meantime?” She asked.
Irish Farmers ‘Association (IFA) President Tim Cullinan alleged the government had violated its pledge to allocate part of the € 1.5 billion budget in carbon taxpayers’ money to the sector. He said “it will further increase farmers’ confidence in the government’s commitment to carbon tax allocation program, which also costs farmers a lot of money”.
A spokesman for Mr. McConalogue, who responded to the points made by Ms. Harkin and Mr. Cullinan, said: “The Department of Agriculture’s needs for 2022 have been met without recourse to the carbon tax. This is just a matter of scheduling.
“The minister will shortly announce indicative allocations for a new CAP strategic plan for the period 2023-2028, and the funding of this program will be complemented by substantial carbon tax revenues.”