Minister Ryan’s letter on restoration law is an act of desperation says INHFA

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) have described a recent letter from Ministers Eamon Ryan and Malcom Noonan to their EU counterparts as an act of desperation. The letter was sent to all EU Member States to seek support for the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) at the upcoming Council meeting on the 17th June.

Speaking on this National President Vincent Roddy stated how Minister Ryan needs to “acknowledge the concern there is around this law, both in Ireland and across Europe and go back to the drawing board instead of trying to bulldoze this through.”

It is, he continued “unlikely that you would find an EU law that has seen such push-back. From three committees of the European Parliament (including the lead committee DG Envi) failing to ratify it last Summer, following a close shave at the Council of Ministers, to where we are now with desperate letters to hold the line irrespective of the consequences.” “But it is the consequences we are worried about” added the INHFA leader

These consequences have he stated, “been abundantly clear from our first reading of the draft proposals in Summer of 2022 and while we have seen some minor changes, the law will impact heavily where applied.” Over the last number of months, we have, he added, “seen politicians both at home and in Brussels sell these minor concessions as a radical redraft that protects farmers and their communities.”

“However these minor changes to the rewetting targets covered in Article 9, coupled with clarifications that these targets don’t imply an obligation on farmers to rewet their land are fully undermined by the restoration requirements detailed under Article 4” cautioned Roddy.

The INHFA believe that Article 4 of the law, has he stressed “always been of greater concern. But the fact that the supporters of this law continue to side-step this illustrates that either, they don’t understand the law or of greater concern, they fully understand this and hope by getting it through, they will get to decide what happens on over one million hectares of land currently owned by farmers.”

As outlined the INHFA has over the last two years engaged at every level on this, engagement that Roddy maintains has influenced both here and in Europe. “However, despite this, there is the possibility that this could be ratified in June which is why we have also written to all three EU Institutions, (The Commission, Parliament and Council of Ministers) instructing them that the INHFA acting on behalf of our members do not consent to the NRL targets being obligatory on our farmed habitats.” In doing this we are, he added “leaving the option open for a possible legal challenge by either the INHFA or an INHFA member should this law be passed.”

Concluding, the INHFA leader encouraged Ministers Ryan and Noonan to pull back in their support for this law. We must, he stated, “learn from the implementation of the habitats directive which hasn’t only failed the farmer, it has also failed in its conservation objectives and this law, if passed will be equally problematic.”