More consultation is needed on how best to achieve the objectives set out in the proposed nature restoration law, Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) president Dermot Kelleher has said.

“Irish farmers have no objection to protecting nature and enhancing biodiversity and that more consultation on how best to achieve those objectives needs to happen.

“EU policies affecting farmers need to be worked out with farmers. Protecting our environment is vital but supporting the livelihoods of farmers is a prerequisite,” he said.

Commenting on Wednesday’s Dáil debate on the law, Kelleher said the law is a prime example of the complete disregard at EU level for the complexities around implementation at local level.

“There has been a total lack of consultation with Irish farmers around this initiative which has a massive scope, and which would invariably lead to many farmers having to abandon farming altogether. It is no way to conduct any business or solve any problem.


“Farmers here are willing to engage - and they are willing to do their bit - but they are not being listened to at EU level. There is alarm that any directive coming down from the EU could potentially wipe them out without them ever having any say in the matter. We are talking about hard-working people here who have worked the land for generations, and they deserve more than being railroaded off their land,” he said.

Even more alarming is the cavalier attitude at European Commission level that believes all of this can be delivered without any dedicated EU funding mechanism, he added.

“For all of these reasons, ICSA supports the position of MEPs who have voted against this, in its current format, and we are calling for proper engagement before this proceeds any further.”