Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice believes RTE’s climate change coverage is unfairly singling out rural Ireland for criticism and unrealistic measures to combat climate change.

The national broadcaster is focusing on the topic of climate change for the entire week across television and radio, with a variety of programmes scheduled.

However, the elected representative for the Roscommon-Galway constituency believes some of the measures mooted are unrealistic.

Commenting on the matter, he said: “It seems as if an accusing finger is always being pointed at rural Ireland for all it is supposedly doing wrong.

“People have to live and work in rural Ireland. It cannot be totally sacrificed for people who live within the boundary of the M50 or other large cities.

“There is plenty of talk about planting, planting and more planting – with targets of 7,000ha or 8,000ha of forestry per year being touted. But, the fact is, a lot of plantings are being held up at the moment because of European court rulings and objections by so-called environmentalists.

“Are we going to see rural towns and villages decimated because nobody wants to live in the shadows of countless forests of Sitka Spruce?

“Exports from the agri-food sector amounted to almost €14 billion in 2018. Are we going to sacrifice this in the name of allegedly saving the planet?

“In the past week, we already have seen how this Government is content to wipe out the midlands by backing the closure of two peat-powered plants at the end of 2020 – in an effort to get a gold star from Europe for their efforts.

“This is despite the fact that Germany has just put a plan in place to phase out over 80 power plants which use black coal over the next 18 years or so.

“While of course there are measures we can take to play our part – across a number of sectors, including agriculture – we have to remain realistic of the influence any of our changes will have globally.

“Whatever agenda is being pushed at the moment, we have to get real. Whatever changes Ireland make aren’t going to save the world on their own.

“If this Government is allowed to continue on its current course, it will transform rural Ireland into a wilderness to act as a carbon sink for the rest of the country – unless the people who live there stand up for their rights and turn out in force when it comes to polling day.

“The people of Ireland need to take a step back and see where the two main political parties in this country have brought us to over the past 100 years.

“We have seen what they have done to Bord na Mona in recent times, in the new trend of bowing to the green agenda. The next thing they will be pushing for is a cull of the national livestock herd.

“People in rural Ireland are fed up of this Government’s lack of action when it comes to losing key employers and services, with little or no effort being made to replace them.

“And then, to top it all off, they are faced with the national broadcaster continuously pointing the finger at rural Ireland when it comes to climate change – despite a lot of rural dwellers living very sustainable lives.

“We need to remember that we have a right to question and challenge the agenda being pushed upon us. People are afraid to question things now for fear of being vilified in this politically correct era that we find ourselves in.

“It is high time that a stop is put to the vilification of rural Ireland and agriculture in this manner,” Fitzmaurice concluded.

Michael Fitzmaurice – 0861914565

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