Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, has expressed his satisfaction with the European Parliament’s approval of the proposed EU Nature Restoration Law. The law was adopted on Wednesday, July 12, with 336 MEPs voting in favor, 300 against, and 13 abstentions. The outcome of the vote was met with jubilation from MEPs who had strongly supported the law. The European People’s Party (EPP), the largest political group in the EU Parliament, initially sought to reject the law outright but was defeated by a narrow margin. 324 MEPs voted against rejecting the law outright, while 312 voted in favor, and 12 abstained.
Minister Noonan described the vote as an “important step forward” in the restoration of nature throughout the EU. He acknowledged the efforts of individuals in Ireland and across the EU who had worked tirelessly to bring about this outcome. He emphasized the need for the support of farming, forestry, and fishing communities in order to effectively implement nature restoration measures. Minister Noonan expressed his commitment to finding common ground among various stakeholders, including farmers, foresters, fishers, NGOs, businesses, scientists, and the public, to develop a National Restoration Plan that benefits both people and nature in Ireland. He emphasized the importance of a broad and inclusive public participation process, guided by robust ecological and socio-economic impact assessments, to facilitate honest and informed debate.
Additionally, Minister Noonan stated his intention to advocate for a separate national fund to support the long-term implementation of nature restoration measures. He highlighted that the EU Parliament’s endorsement of the Nature Restoration law aligns with the support previously expressed by the Dáil and the European Council. Minister Noonan concluded by stating that it is a great day for nature, society, and the collective future of our planet.
Meanwhile, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Pippa Hackett, also welcomed the EU Parliament’s decision, describing it as a significant step. She emphasized the importance of ensuring that the final text of the law effectively delivers for nature and that all sides in Ireland come together to make it work for communities across the country.