Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae has claimed in the Dáil that the hole in the ozone layer was caused by nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean 50 years ago.

He said "untruths have been bandied about" about climate change for years as he addressed today's debate on the ratification of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, an agreement that he is "very worried about".

They told us about the ozone layer and there was greenhouse gases from cans of hairspray or whatever but they never told us that it was nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean 50 years ago actually caused the serious damage

The Kerry TD said: "There was changes in the climate way back in times when there was no industrialisation and way less animals on farms and no intensification of farming.

"Yet we had intense heat, long periods of very cold, wet weather which culminated in many lives being lost in the famine in the 1740s, caused by two years of incessant rain and extremely cold winters."

"El Nino and the Gulf Stream played a significant part in climate change going back the centuries. There have been a lot untruths bandied about going back for many years.

"They told us about the ozone layer and there was greenhouse gases from cans of hairspray or whatever but they never told us that it was nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean 50 years ago actually caused the serious damage to the Ozone layer.

"Thankfully it is mending and it is curing and it is not anything to do with policies in any country in recent times."

He said he is very worried about the Paris Climate Agreement as it will have a severe negative impact on farmers and farmers must be protected.

"It is rumoured that the national herd will have to be reduced and I will not support any policy that will impinge negatively on our agricultural production. If Ireland misses our 2020 targets ... three years is too little to meet the targets."

After the debate the small number of TDs present agreed to approve the ratification process, making Ireland the 11th EU member state to ratify the agreement reached last December in the French capital.