Carol Nolan TD

Department officials challenged about absence of references to farmers

– 17-04-2024

Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan has challenged officials from the Department of Education about the ongoing absence of specific references to farming, farms or farmers in its approach to how climate action and sustainability is being presented.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after her intervention at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, of which she is a member.

The committee met officials to discuss Climate Action and Sustainable Development Education in Primary, Post Primary and Tertiary education.

The independent TD told officials from the Department of Education that she found it ‘striking’ that there was not a single mention of farms, farming or farmers in its official opening statement despite the fact that farmers continue to play a critical role in sustainable and responsible environmental practices:

“It now appears as if farming is something of a dirty word for the Department of Education,” said Deputy Nolan.

“It also appears that we have something of a pattern developing in this regard. Indeed, in March of this year I highlighted the fact that the words farming, farms and farmers were not mentioned at all in the draft specification for the new Leaving Certificate subject of Climate Action and Sustainable Development.”

“Now here we have the Department, through its officials, repeating that approach while presenting on the issue of climate and sustainable development and biodiversity loss. It simply beggars’ belief.”

“Our farmers deserve far better than to be relegated to the level of a footnote in the conversation around climate. In fact, what we really need is an approach from the Department of Education that champions the role that Irish farmers play in producing world class food while simultaneously moving heaven and earth to protect the land and the natural world,” concluded Deputy Nolan.