THE IRISH Farmers Association (IFA) will meet Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael senators onWednesday ahead of the Green Party's climate change bill going to the Seanad.
The farmers' body will lobby the senators from the two largest parties to oppose the bill, which is "close to Green hearts" and one of the pieces of legislation the junior coalition partner is eager to have passed into law before departing government.
Environment minister John Gormley will also meet with Fianna Fáil senators on Wednesday to explain the merits of the legislation and attempt to secure their support for it ahead of it going to the Seanad on Thursday.
The IFA president John Bryan has warned that the Green Party's climate change policy will derail Ireland's economic recovery by imposing unrealistic restrictions that will destroy the potential of the agri-food sector to deliver exports and jobs.
Bryan claimed: "If the Greens are allowed to persist with their misguided agenda, then the €4bn growth potential in exports set out in the government's own Food Harvest 2020 strategy for the sector will not be achieved. With an election due in the next two months, the proposed legislation should be abandoned."
It was announced on Friday that the Department of Agriculture has reached an agreement that will allow Irish beef to be exported to the Turkish market, which has a massive population of over 70 million. The IFA argues that Ireland's ability to sell into these markets could be curtailed by the restrictions that the climate change bill will introduce.
Bryan added: "The Green Party's refusal to accept the damaging implications of their policy for Ireland is dishonest. Food production in this country, which is carried out on a sustainable basis, would be replaced by countries from South America, which have a very poor record on the environment."
Fianna Fáil senator and Wexford- based farmer Jim Walsh told the Sunday Tribune he is keeping an open mind on the legislation. "It is important that we do not do anything that would be a drag on economic recovery," he said.