CAP monies already pledged to farm schemes cannot fund the proposed rewetting law that the EU plans on introducing, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has insisted.

Minister McConalogue sought more details from the EU on what the European Commission’s plans for a nature restoration law could mean for Ireland at a meeting with his fellow EU farm ministers on Monday.

The minister said that further details were needed to understand aspects of the proposed law, which would see Ireland rewetting up to 35% of its drained, farmed peatlands by 2050 and putting in place other nature-friendly actions on another 35%.

He told the European Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevicius that the data currently on hand is not detailed enough to accurately estimate the area of land that would be affected by rewetting measures.

The impact assessment of the planned law, Minister McConalogue told his EU counterparts, does not “substantively assess the likely impacts on food security or the likely impacts on rural communities” either.


European Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevicius maintained that Brussels will not “directly” impose restrictions on farmers, as long as their farming activities do not hinder the recovery of habitats and species.

He said the proposal allows for a “lot of flexibility” to member states in deciding how they will meet their targets and which measures they can impose on lands.

It was recognised that both public and private investment will be needed to fund the measures.