Farmers should be the ones in the driving seat when it comes to deciding what nature restoration measures to implement, a Fianna Fáil TD has said.

Speaking at a Dáil debate on the Nature Restoration Law, Éamon Ó Cuív said due to their intimate local knowledge of the land, farmers should be the ones shaping nature restoration measures.

“When we talk about nature restoration, it is highly complex and it takes a huge amount of knowledge.

“In many cases, the most knowledgeable about the capacity of their land are traditional farmers who have been farming the land for generations in the one area,” he said.


Ó Cuív gave the example of the corncrake on Turbot Island, which declined in line with the population. Human activity, namely a mowing pattern, helped the bird survive.

The Galway west TD added that farmers’ skills should be utilised, rather than people without local knowledge making decisions.

“People who have never farmed in their lives, that have never worked farms, are telling people who know the land and understand the land how to solve the problem rather than consulting with them,” he said.


Ó Cuív referenced a letter sent to his party colleague, MEP Billy Kelleher, by European Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevicius clarifying that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will not be impacted by the Nature Restoration Law.

The deputy said he was not confident this would be the case into the future.

“The present CAP finishes in 2027. Is anybody telling me there won’t be a call for alignment with the nature restoration [law] in relation to payments post-2027?

“That the people who are so eloquent here in what their version of nature restoration is, won’t be back saying, ‘If you don’t comply to new good agricultural and environmental conditions (GAECs) you aren’t going to get paid?” he said.