July 5, 2023
Government fails to address Farmers’ concerns on Nature Restoration Law – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on the Government to support a Sinn Féin amendment to ensure that key concerns and asks from farmers are addressed as part of the Nature Restoration Law.

Concerns have been raised by farmers and representative organisations about the potential impact of the Nature Restoration Law, which was the focus of a Motion in the Dáil this morning.

Speaking on the Motion, Teachta Kerrane challenged the Government’s amendment, which called for “the development of a Nature Restoration Regulation, which both protects nature and ensures the future vitality and viability of Irish farming and rural communities”, but which provided no proposals on how to do so.

Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:

“We know that many in the farming community are concerned about what is being proposed regarding the Nature Restoration Law.

“Today’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 morning’s Motion.

“The Government’s amendment speaks of supporting the development of a Nature Restoration Regulation that protects nature and the viability of farming and rural communities, yet conveniently side-steps how they intend to achieve that and fails to present any proposals on how they will support the farming community.

“They and their European colleagues have not been pro-active on developing the Nature Restoration Law and seem to be 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.

“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.

“Sinn Féin have engaged constructively to develop a Law which can work. We tabled amendments at EU level at every possible opportunity to address the concerns expressed to us by farmers and those living in rural communities.

“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 morning.

“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.

“Our amendment 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.

“I am calling on the Government to make clear their proposals for ensuring that our family farms are adequately protected and supported.”

CRÍOCH/ENDS

Note to Editor:

Sinn Féin is seeking support for its amendment debated this morning, which seeks that:

  • Public participation underpins the entire nature restoration planning process from start to finish;
  • Any such schemes that are developed are voluntary and not mandatory;
  • Those who undertake nature restoration measures are financially supported to do so;
  • All plans will be subject to socio-economic impact assessment; and
  • Public bodies will be obliged to engage with and provide assurances around re-wetting activities to Farmers and landowners on adjoining lands.

The Nature Restoration Law will be voted in plenary session in the EU next week. Sinn Féin MEP, Chris MacManus has re-submitted amendments in line with the above which seek to support Irish family Farmers and rural communities.

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