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Gormley critical of Smith's speech on cattle

7 Nov 2008

The Irish Times

By Harry McGhee

MINISTER FOR Agriculture Brendan Smith was yesterday taken to task by his Cabinet colleague John Gormley over comments that climate change must not damage Irish agriculture.

Mr Gormley, the Minister for the Environment, said he was "very surprised" to learn of a speech delivered by Mr Smith in which he argued against reducing cattle numbers to help Ireland meet the EU target of a 20 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.

In a speech at a conference organised by Teagasc, Mr Smith pointed to agriculture contributing 27 per cent of all greenhouse emissions in Ireland, a much higher percentage than other EU countries. Most of this comes from methane produced from cattle.

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