Limerick councillor calls climate change a Marxist myth

Cllr Emmett O'Brien, Independent. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

“CLIMATE change is a complete myth propagated by Marxists, leftists, and members of the Green Party and Social Democrats.”

So said Independent councillor and beef farmer Emmett O’Brien after a presentation from the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) at the recent full meeting of Limerick City and County Council (LCCC).

Cllr O’Brien, who pointed out that he is not a member of the IFA, maintained that environmental policy and its narrative is being set by the European Commission, people in the media, and propagandists about climate change.

“If we are to believe in the myth of climate change, it’s a complete myth, propagated by Marxists leftists, policists here, members of the Green Party and Social Democrats behind me,” the Pallaskenry man hit out.

“It’s a direct attack on the farm, it’s an anti-farming policy. Farmers are going to have a very difficult role over the next 10 or 15 years,” he declared.

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IFA spokesperson Sean Lavery called during the meeting for support from council members for two resolutions as part of their ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign.

The first IFA resolution called for the council to recognise the contribution that farming and the agri-sector makes to the Irish and local economy, as well as increasing costs to farmers and cuts in basic income supports.

The second asked the council to call on the government to introduce no further regulations on farmers or any measures that may increase costs on farms without full negotiation and agreement with the Irish Farmers Association. It further asked the local authority to call on the EU and the government to provide additional stand-alone funding, separate to the Common Agricultural Policy, to support farmers to undertake climate and biodiversity measures.

Fine Gael councillor John Sheahan, a member of the IFA and chair of his local branch, formally proposed the association’s resolutions. Most of the chamber, he said, are in full support of the IFA’s work in trying to keep traditional farming alive.

Fine Gael councillor Liam Galvin, an IFA member and farmer himself, seconded the motions before directing his comments to an earlier speaker.

“I am just looking at the back of my IFA membership card here and there are seven contact numbers. The bottom three are Pieta House, debt support service, and legal advice service. They are the bottom three contacts and that’s saying enough as it is. I fear for farmers going forward,” he admitted.

“Anyone inside in this room who doesn’t think there is something going on with our climate, because it has been raining since the 13th of June and I have been out on the road for the last six weeks meeting farmers. The worry they have now is that they have a week’s fodder left inside in the yard, so climate change is a massive challenge for farming.”

Green Party councillor Seán Hartigan pleaded with the IFA members in the chamber not to go down the road “that Emmett O’Brien might lead you, talking about the myth of climate change”.

Meanwhile, Independent councillor John O’Donoghue raised concerns after learning from Mr Lavery that the average age of a Limerick farmer is 59.

“I’ll throw something out there that might make a small bit of sense. We are out there producing more and more. What about producing less for a little bit more? Is that not the way we should be going?”