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Rural Affairs, Agriculture, Animal Welfare, Forestry & Food

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The Green Party want to ensure prosperous and sustainable livelihoods for those who live in rural Ireland.

The Green party believes that the wellbeing of rural Ireland, and the agricultural sector, is at the heart of creating a sustainable society. We strongly believe that sustainable farming methods that focus on smaller scale, quality-based production will provide greater financial security to those in the agriculture sector and safeguard the use of farming land, marine environments and forests for future generations. The Green Party believes that fresh, nutritious food is a basic right for all. We must ensure that our food production and distribution systems safeguard our reputation for quality food, our environment and our rural communities.

 

Secure farms, better produce

  • Encourage the Irish agriculture sector to diversify by moving away from a dependence on animal products.
  • Introduce a nationwide “Better Breeding” programme and an “Ethical Irish Meat” code.

We want to ensure that Irish farms are sustainable enterprises. Irish agriculture is currently very dependent upon livestock farming for export. We believe that actively developing our output in the tillage and horticulture sectors would lead to more Irish produce being sold locally, leading to lower greenhouse gas emissions in both the production and transport of goods. This more diverse agriculture should focus on ethical production, food security and integrated markets for the benefit of rural communities. We believe that encouraging artisan producers to make high quality goods is in the best interests of farmers, rather than the production-focused large farm model which is more susceptible to price shocks.

 

Nurturing organic farming

  • Expand and fund the Organic Farming Scheme to increase the market share of organic farming to 25% by 2025.
  • Introduce a 5% increase in subsidies for participants in the Organic Farming Scheme producing non-livestock outputs.

Irish farmers are well placed to take advantage of the rapid growth of the organic farming marketplace, but they need much more support to realise this potential. Our current output of organic produce is only 3-5%, a figure which lags behind many European nations. We want to empower Irish farmers to take better advantage of this growing market by providing them with additional funding when they choose to farm organically.

 

Supporting rural Ireland

  • Establish a Rural Supports Agency.
  • Expand the Rural Transport Programme.
  • Prioritise the expansion of broadband internet to all parts of the country.

The Green party believes that government policy must make a concerted effort to address issues that disproportionately affect rural Ireland, such as lack of transport and services. We believe that service provision and supports for rural Ireland should be streamlined through a single agency, which would be better funded and equipped to focus on the needs of rural Ireland than the sometimes fractured and overlapping efforts of present bodies.

 

Improving animal welfare

  • Adopt high welfare standards for all animals, including adequate space and the opportunity to carry out natural behaviours.
  • End live animal export to non-EU countries.

The Green party believes that animals, as sentient beings, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and protected from maltreatment and abuse. We believe that animals should be able to live according to their natural instincts and needs wherever possible. We believe that Ireland needs to do more to protect the diversity and habitats of its native fauna.

 

Protecting our forests

  • Create permanent biodiverse forests with trees of all ages.
  • Retain hedgerows and enhance them with appropriate species.
  • Plant protection forests bordering rivers and lakes to improve water quality and minimise flood risks.

The Green believe in promoting the highest standards of protection and development for Ireland’s forests. It is clear from the many economic and ecological benefits that forests provide that forestry will have a central and significant role in creating a sustainable green economy in Ireland. In addition to economic benefits, healthy and well managed forests provide invaluable social and environmental improvements.

 

Local, nutritious food

  • Encourage community involvement in food growing, through allotments, community and school gardens.
  • Introduce schemes in schools to educate children about food, and to promote healthy food in schools.
  • Introduce legislation obliging supermarkets to donate unsold food to charity.

The Green Party considers access to healthy food to be a human right. The Green Party believes that supporting sustainable local food production will contribute positively to our population’s health and wellbeing, and support sustainable economic growth. We want to ensure that Irish children grow up with access to healthy food.