Longford Leader columnist Mattie Fox: Amid climate change talk we can't forget our citizens are struggling

Leo Varadkar wants to be ‘a world leader in climate change action’.

That’s a high and lofty ambition.

To preach that Ireland must become the ‘leading player’ in climate change, must ignore our very limited physical and numerical realities.

We all subscribe to more stringent rules to effect climate change, and of course Ireland must do more, but not at the expense of the many who cannot afford such financial upheaval.

We must remember that many of our citizens are struggling, really struggling, and these, our own people, must not be forgotten.

This column has been talking about the government’s attitude until we’re blue in the face, and now, suddenly they’re proposing some astonishing rules.

It would be different if we were a multi billion euro country with all the wastage that comes with it. We must remember that Ireland is much smaller than the city of London, to give just one example.

The fact is, Ireland is one of the tiniest countries in the world, so why we should aspire to be ‘leaders of climate change’ beats me.

It’s not the only sign of incongruity that our Taoiseach demonstrates, he also manages to ignore completely the fact that Ireland has been one of the greatest offenders in the area of climate change until now.

Suddenly he wants to be the leader of change!

We’ve paid hundreds of millions ‘buying’ our carbon tax credits - what that does for climate change I will never know.

Now, the European Union has announced that they have done a deal with South America, to take beef into Europe.

How can we agree to such a terrible decision?

Obviously, we know we cannot do anything about it, as the EU encompasses more countries than Ireland.

But we should at least let our feelings - if we have any that is - known, as the deal that has been agreed, Mercosur, means that in order for the Brazilians to supply beef to Europe, it will involve the destruction of the rainforests!

This view is taken because Brazil will expand their capacity to produce beef, and the only way they can achieve that is to destroy huge swathes of the rainforest.

The rainforests, as we all know, are vital to climate protection.

So far, I haven’t heard anyone on RTÉ Radio or any other medium saying a word about climate change, yet, they constantly moan about Ireland’s farmers whose livelihoods are being threatened by this new found interest in climate change!

Oh dear me.

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