Demands by the EU Commission to commence rewetting and rewilding programmes on Ireland’s drained farmed peatlands will have dire consequences for both farmers, farm families and their rural communities according to the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA).
With 300,000ha of this land in Ireland, the proposals outlined, will have direct impact on up to 20,000 farmers with many of these being forced out of the industry, according to INHFA President Vincent Roddy
It is, he continued, “vital that we fully assess the overall impact of what is being proposed and how this will impact the farmers and their wider communities. In doing this we must recognise how these proposals will jeopardise the social and economic fabric of
our rural communities.”
“While all counties could be impacted by these proposals, the greatest impact will be felt in western seaboard counties and into the midlands where suckler farming is often the main enterprise” added Roddy.
In discussing the proposed Biodiversity law, the INHFA President pointed to the EU Biodiversity Strategy that was launched in May 2020. This he stated “was a forerunner to the proposed Biodiversity law as it specifically targeted our peatlands for a new and more restrictive designation called Strictly Protected.”
This threat is, he stressed “something we have outlined in various forums and despite the slow reaction by others we are still hopeful that all those interested in protecting our farmers and rural communities will now act and work with us in challenging these proposals”
Concluding, the INHFA leader was anxious to point out “that all laws can be changed provided the political will is there to do it. The challenge for all of us is to get enough of our politicians both at home and in Europe to work with us in changing this law.”