Ireland mattie McGrath
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Matthew McGrath is an Irish Independent politician and a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Tipperary constituency
Culling the national herd will lead to food shortages, TD Mattie McGrath has predicted.

Government documents have suggested up to 65,000 cattle may need to be culled every year for three years in order to comply with the nation's climate targets.

A 550kg dairy cow emits roughly 320-330 grams of methane every day and the Government has agreed the agriculture sector should cut its emissions by 25% over the next eight years.

Deputy McGrath predicted the impact on rural Ireland's economy would be "dire" and send food prices soaring further.

"We have all the predictions of dire consequences of the climate crisis but are we going to die off ahead of it?" he told The Hard Shoulder.

"We'll have no food to feed ourselves, hyper inflation of food prices and decimation of our agricultural products that we have here which are very valuable to the economy and are very low carbon exports."

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association President Pat McCormack said it was important any such cull was optional but Deputy McGrath said he doubted that would be the case.

"There's no such thing as voluntary," he said.

"It's going to be compulsory; they're being demonised and attacked from every which way as being dirty people, uncaring for the environment - which is a fallacy and there's no science behind that."

Climate change

Deputy McGrath also said people who do not believe in the scientific orthodoxy behind climate change are being unfairly vilified.

"What about the climate people who are telling us we're on fire?" he said.

"There's no proper science behind that and you can't question that, we can't have a proper decent robust debate.

"People are silenced and are literally cancelled if they go against the narrative."

There is an overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity and if temperatures continue to rise it will trigger extreme weather events, cause the extinction of species and displace millions from their homes.