Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Claire Kerrane has accused the Government of failing to adequately address Irish farmers’ concerns around the proposed EU Nature Restoration Law.
Calling on the Government to support a Sinn Féin amendment to ensure that key concerns are addressed, Deputy Kerrane said: “We know that many in the farming community are concerned about what is being proposed regarding the Nature Restoration Law.
“Sinn Féin’s motion presented the opportunity to discuss what will be the single greatest change to land use in Ireland. The issue however, remains, what will this law actually look like and that is where the Government view is absent, as reflected in their amendment to this motion”.
Kerrane accused the Government and policy makers in Europe of failing to be proactive on developing the Nature Restoration Law.
“They seem oblivious to the need to make sure our family farms and rural communities are at the heart of this issue as part of the process,” she said.
“The initial text on this law, which will be voted on next week, was never going to be acceptable. It ignored land ownership in seeking mandatory re-wetting and it tried to insist on farmers doing more without putting actual adequate funding in place – this was simply unworkable”.
Deputy Kerrane said her party had engaged constructively to develop a law which would work.
“In doing so, we have set out clear red lines which must be included in any Nature Restoration Law, and which I also proposed in the Dáil this week,” she said.
“These are ensuring that any activities are voluntary, not mandatory, and that there is public participation in our own national plan from start to finish.
“We need to see permanent funding outside of CAP and a national socio-economic impact assessment carried out on any measures proposed”.
Her party’s amendment, she added, also addresses an issue raised by farmers in the midlands.
“This would require that State bodies are compelled to provide assurances to farmers on adjacent lands that, if re-wetting on State lands results in unintended consequences, remedial works will be undertaken. This is only fair and proper,” she said.
“I am calling on the Government to make clear their proposals for ensuring that our family farms are adequately protected and supported”.