There is a “strong possibility” the Nature Restoration Law could be rejected outright at an upcoming vote in Brussels, an Irish MEP has said.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Ireland South MEP Billy Kelleher said the law, which looked set to succeed after getting the green light at a European Parliament vote, could still fail to reach consensus in the bloc.

“There’s a strong possibility [it could be rejected]. If they can’t build a majority around the obligations and qualified majority voting, well then clearly yes, it could be,” he said.


This comes following a delay to a vote on the law at a meeting of EU environment ministers on Monday, as support for the law wavers among some member states.

Kelleher, who received clarification on some areas of the law and supported it at the recent parliament vote, said there are now three possibilities: clarifications are sought and the law is passed as is, it is outrightly rejected or it is amended and goes back to the parliament.

Minister of State for Nature Malcolm Noonan said Ireland has committed to a nature restoration plan at national level irrespective of whether the law passes at EU level, but EU support would help farmers financially.

“Having the EU behind the nature restoration law will inevitably help to unlock supports for farmers and we all know that incentivising them to engage voluntarily is the best way to do this.

“Ireland has a €3.15bn climate and nature fund and we’ve committed to doing a nature restoration plan irrespective of the nature restoration law,” he added.

Farm organisations

Meanwhile, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) welcomed the latest developments on the law.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) said the decision not to vote on the law this week was correct and it should be reassessed.

While the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) said the law should be parked until after the European elections.