“Farmers have nothing to fear from the Nature Restoration Law,” Minister of State for nature Malcolm Noonan has said.

Speaking as part of a Dáil debate on the law, Minister Noonan said farmers should see the measures as an opportunity.

“Farmers have nothing to fear from the Nature Restoration Law. If anything, this law has the potential to bring substantial opportunities.

“By working together and listening to each other, we can ensure that implementation at farm level is harmonious and beneficial in the context of food production,” he said.


The minister also said he wanted to clear up “misinformation” and “scaremongering” around the legislation.

“I would like to deal with some of the misinformation that has been at play in this debate, because that’s what it has been, misinformation. Dare I say it, scaremongering.

“And, in some cases, a deliberate attempt to whip up fear for what I can only assume is some narrow, political gain. But I do acknowledge there has been genuine concerns as well,” he said.


Measures under the Nature Restoration Law will be voluntary for farmers, Minister Noonan said.

“The legislation is explicit on this in relation to rewetting, but participation in relation to wider restoration measures is a national competency,” he said.

The minister added that the Government is confident rewetting targets can be met to 2040 with State lands.

“More analysis is needed to establish how far we can go towards the 2050 rewetting targets on public land,” he said.

Minister Noonan said restoration measures will not impact on CAP or any Department of Agriculture schemes and that it will provide “additional income streams for those who choose to participate”.

“Schemes will be well incentivised and, crucially, designed in partnership with all stakeholders over the next two years, as part of the nature restoration planning process.

“Farmers’ expertise will be called upon to help shape these schemes,” he added.


Several Sinn Féin deputies outlined why the party did not support the recent vote at the European Parliament.

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on agriculture Claire Kerrane TD said an amendment had been made to the then-proposed law last summer on compensation for affected landowners and it was subsequently dropped.

“The text we saw last week at the European Parliament included nothing on funding and it included nothing on compensation.

“In fact, the part entirely on compensation had been utterly removed,” she said.

Deputy Kerrane added that the law needed to outline “dedicated, long-term funding” for the measures that would be taken under it.

“It [funding] needed to come from the European Union (EU) and it should come to accompany what is a major and ambitious plan in relation to nature restoration.

“I believe the EU has missed an opportunity here at a time when farmers are really fed up in relation to the red tape and the many regulations that are coming from Europe, we know many farmers have been protesting in relation to this very issue.

“This is an opportunity the EU had to say, ‘Yes, we are asking you to do more, but we are going to financially back you to do that’. That wasn’t there.

“Instead, it was, ‘Let’s heap more work on farmers who will be doing this and look at funding post-2027’.

"That to me is not good enough and, from my view, there was nothing stopping that text saying there would be a commitment to funding under the next multiannual financial framework (MFF),” she added.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson added that one country alone can block MFF funding and she is “genuinely concerned that may be the case post-2027”.