Irish Nature and Hill Farmers Association president Vincent Roddy

INHFA president Vincent Roddy questioned the precedent set in voting the law through under controversial circumstances. / James Connolly

“Land designations have been an unmitigated disaster for farmers and landowners, with no proper funding and, critically, restrictions imposed without consultation, undermining income potential and increasing costs,” Roddy stated.

“In any national restoration plan, we must first address these outstanding issues and then ensure that any future plan facilitates current farming activity, remains voluntary and doesn’t undermine income potential or increase costs.

“Currently, there are two potential court cases as a result of Monday's actions [regarding Austria's vote]. Time will tell if these cases proceed, but the likelihood of the law being rescinded is very low. However, the manner of its approval does raise some concerning issues.”

Irish Farmers' Association president Francie Gorman

IFA leader Francie Gorman is critical of the lack of member state-specific impact assessment on the targets contained in the law. \ Philip Doyle

“The approach by the Commission to bring in a law in this area rather than a properly funded EU-wide voluntary scheme is totally wrong,” according to Gorman.

“The reality is that there is a huge amount of uncertainty about how this law is going to be interpreted at member state level.

“No national impact assessment has been carried out and we have no idea how it will impact on food production and, ultimately, on food security.

“A huge of amount of work is now needed on how this law will be implemented in Ireland. I want to make it clear that [the] IFA will not stand for farmers’ property rights or their right to farm their land being undermined.”

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association president Dennis Drennan

ICMSA leader Dennis Drennan criticised the move to approve the Nature Restoration Law after the European Parliament elections.

“This decision had been deliberately delayed until after the votes had been counted. It was yet more evidence – if that was even required – that farmers were regarded in some quarters as effectively ‘voting fodder’ to be told what was expedient and necessary to keep them onside,” Drennan commented.

“But we now need to see – and as an emergency – how this intrusion is going to be funded out of new specifically allocated funding and also an official confirmation that no farmer or private landowner will be compelled or ordered to take actions that the State or any external agency decides upon as meeting individual obligations under the law.”

Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association president Sean McNamara

ICSA president Sean McNamara is seeking clarity on the funding on measures carried out to meet the law's targets. / Denis Byrne

“As it stands, we have no clarity around how this law will be implemented in Ireland and what the consequences will be, especially for those on peaty soils,” McNamara said.

“It is yet another example of an initiative being imposed on farmers that is heavy on targets and light on how those targets will be met or how they will be funded.

“Although various ministers have assured us that any schemes introduced under the Nature Restoration Law will be voluntary, we need concrete guarantees on this.”

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Nature Restoration Law finalised by EU ministers