Taoiseach says farmers ‘up for’ emissions cuts to fight climate change

Micheal Martin and Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine as ‘a gross violation of international law…which cannot be allowed to stand’

With Ireland still baking in record summer temperatures, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has dismissed the potential of a clash with farmers over cutting emissions. Reports suggest that the farming lobby is putting pressure on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to reject emissions cuts of more than 22 per cent.

Ireland has a record number of dairy cattle following sharp growth of the sector in the last decade. Scientists say the national herd will have to be reduced to tackle climate change.

“Farmers are up for this,” insisted Mr Martin, who is on the final day of a two-day trip to Japan. “They understand climate change – we all do.”

The Taoiseach said that changing farming practices and leveraging technology rather than government-directed cuts would reduce emissions.


During a meeting earlier on Wednesday Mr Martin and Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine as “a gross violation of international law…which cannot be allowed to stand”

The Taoiseach also expressed Ireland’s condolences to Mr Kishida on the murder of his predecessor Shinzo Abe, who was shot while campaigning on July 8th. Mr Martin said Mr Abe’s murder revealed the “fragility and vulnerability” of political life.

“We note that it happened during an election, but the fact you held the election anyway shows in many ways the resilience of your democracy, and I know your democracy is in safe hands with you,” he said.

The two leaders signed a joint statement at the Japanese prime minister’s official residence committing to boosting economic ties and campaigning to end the international threat of nuclear weapons.

Japan, the only nation to have been attacked with nuclear bombs, has come under fire for refusing to sign a UN treaty banning their use. Tokyo declined to send a delegation to the first meeting of the treaty signatories in Vienna in June.

Earlier, in 35-degree heat, the Taoiseach turned the sod on the foundation of Ireland House, a €23 million construction project in central Tokyo that will house Ireland’s new Embassy, as well as IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia.

Mr Martin also visited Keidanren, Japan’s most powerful business lobby, and met client companies of Enterprise Ireland and the bosses of Japanese companies, including Hitachi, which is exploring the possibility of exploiting wind energy in Ireland.

During their meeting Mr Kishida raised the issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Mr Martin said there was a “natural interest” in the North among Japanese politicians given the history of violence there and “concerns about a potential rupture between the UK and Europe”.

The Taoiseach refused to be drawn into commenting on who he favoured to win the race by British Conservative MPs to select a new prime minister, but said he saw it as an opportunity to “reset” ties with the UK.

“As two countries that are so interdependent – economically, socially, culturally, family ties and so on – we would much prefer that the relationship was on a sounder footing. Clearly the protocol has got in the way of that. I would hope with a new British prime minister that people would take time out, reflect.”

During their meeting the Taoiseach invited Mr Kishida to Ireland. Mr Kishida previously visited Dublin as Japanese foreign minister in 2017.

Mr Martin dismissed speculation about his leadership, saying voters were more interested in cost-of-living issues than “navel-gazing” by politicians. He flies to Singapore on Thursday morning.