Environmentalists have slammed the Government’s alleged hypocrisy on rewetting targets, accusing it of creating a lack of clarity for farmers.

The Irish Environmental Network (IEN) accused the Government of “shooting itself in the foot” by pushing back against EU nature restoration ambitions.

IEN representative Fintan Kelly highlighted that in the Climate Action Plan 2023, the Government has set a target to restore 24% of drained farmed peatlands by 2030. However, he said Irish policymakers have painted the 7.5% EU target as “overly ambitious” and “onerous”.

The comparison was made during a meeting of the Oireachtas environment and climate action committee on Tuesday. “We’ve heard that Ireland is one of the most negative member states when it comes to the peatlands and organic soil targets.

“We’ve clearly demonstrated that the national targets are much more ambitious than the nature restoration law targets so from our perspective, Ireland is just shooting itself in the foot by trying to get the EU to accept a lower level of ambition than what we already said we would do.

“We’re very frustrated by the lack of clarity from Government on what the national position is,” Kelly said.