The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) have hit back at recent proposals outlined by Minister Eamon Ryan to CPO land for biodiversity and rewilding. The proposals made by Minister Ryan and detailed in Monday’s Irish Examiner are according to INHFA President Vincent Roddy “deeply concerning and will be viewed by most farmers as a sinister land-grab that must be fought.”
It is, he added, “a blatant abuse of the CPO process which should only ever be used to acquire land for critical infrastructure projects of national importance.”
In discussing Minister Ryan’s comments Roddy questioned “if those with land adjoining or close to any of our National Parks can expect to see their lands targeted through a CPO process and what value will the State put on these lands.”
“With many of these lands already designated as special areas of conservation (SAC) or special protected areas (SPA’s) there is a distinct possibility that the State could try and acquire these lands at rock bottom prices” said Roddy.
Indeed, there is, he continued “a distinct possibility that this policy is already being pursued by the State as illustrated in a recent letter of offer to a farmer from the Department of Housing (which includes the National Parks & Wildlife Service) offering to buy the land for less than €500/acre.
In a process such as this, there is, stated the INHFA leader “a major issue with regard to property rights and the role played by the State in devaluing these lands through the implementation of the Natura 2000 designations.”
This he added “is further complicated by the fact that the State could be looking to take advantage of these devaluations either in the open marketplace or even more concerning through the CPO process,”
At this point it is stated Roddy “vital that Minister Ryan and his cabinet colleagues reassess the process by how the State acquires land. This is of particular concern on lands that they have helped to devalue. Failing this it is incumbent on our public representatives especially those across rural Ireland to ensure they do.”