Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan and Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue are said to have held another "constructive" meeting on a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for the agriculture sector.

Last year, agriculture was given an emissions reduction range of between 22-30%, but a final figure now needs to be signed off.

Minister Ryan is said to still be of the belief that Cabinet will be able to sign-off on a compromise proposed by next Wednesday at the last full Cabinet meeting before the summer break.

It is believed that Minister McConalogue believes the final figure should be close to 22%, while Minister Ryan is advocating a higher reduction target.

A spokesperson for Mr McConalogue said they were "continuing to engage constructively on the establishment of a sectoral ceiling for agriculture".

They added: "The Government is committed to meeting ambitious climate mitigation targets and has established a framework to do so."

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the key sectors of agriculture, transport and enterprise will each have to come up with their ceilings and agree figures regarding cutting emissions.

Mr Martin added that in his view, there is a need to develop the electric vehicle model "much quicker" in terms of motor transport.

There are benefits to this, he said, adding that it cleans the air and improves quality of life, while also reducing emissions.

The Taoiseach also said that there needs to be "stabilisation of the national herd".

He said that there had been "exponential growth" over the past decade, particularly in the dairy herd, after quotas were lifted in 2015 and that we have "got to balance the food security issue with the climate issue".

It has become apparent, he said, that food can "run short very quickly" during wars and when there are various viruses or interruptions in the food supply.

Other countries, including Japan, see Ireland's food production as "carbon emission efficient" compared to other states.

In terms of agriculture targets, the Taoiseach said that farmers are "up for" the challenge of cutting emissions.

"The farmers are up for this. The farmers are quite progressive in Ireland in respect of change. They understand climate change as well. They can see it. We can all see it," Mr Martin said.

New farming technology is coming on stream all of the time, he said, adding that there are different ways of farming that cut emissions.


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