Sinn Féin Snubs Nature Restoration, Farmers Left Disappointed

Sinn Féin MEPs Express Dissent Over Nature Restoration Law Vote in European Parliament

In a pivotal vote in the European Parliament today, Sinn Féin representatives have made their stance clear on the Nature Restoration Law (NRL). Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus, along with Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, both part of The Left group in the European Parliament, were the only Irish MEPs to vote against the law. MacManus cited the failure to address key concerns of farmers as the reason for rejecting the NRL.

“Sinn Féin have consistently emphasized the need for the NRL to address the crucial issues faced by farmers,” MacManus stated. The MEP highlighted the party’s efforts to propose amendments aimed at addressing the concerns raised by farmers and rural communities. The focus was on securing long-term funding to support farmers, fishers, foresters, and others engaged in nature restoration activities.

Sinn Féin had previously supported the law in a plenary session in July 2023 with the hope of alleviating the burdens on small farmers, especially in the west and north-west of Ireland. However, MacManus expressed disappointment that the law did not meet the necessary criteria. Moving forward, Sinn Féin aims to ensure that the consultation process on national restoration plans addresses the key issues to safeguard the future of farming, funding, and the environment.

Claire Kerrane TD, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on agriculture, echoed concerns over the NRL’s passing, particularly regarding funding for farmers to engage in nature restoration activities. Kerrane criticized the removal of references to public participation and compensation, emphasizing the need for thorough assessments and planning prior to the law’s passage. She stressed the urgency of providing assurance to farmers and rural communities post-approval.

Welcoming the passing of the Nature Restoration Law, the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) hailed it as a positive step towards rejuvenating Ireland’s ecosystems. Despite acknowledging that the law had been weakened since the Commission’s original proposal, the IWT emphasized the importance of the NRL in setting timelines and targets for restoring nature on both land and sea. The organization sees the law as crucial for biodiversity protection, food security, and human health in Europe.

Grace Carr, IWT’s marine advocacy officer, expressed satisfaction with MEPs’ decision to accept the Nature Restoration Law. Carr highlighted the collaborative efforts of stakeholders in identifying ways to preserve nature and create schemes to incentivize farmers and landowners to participate voluntarily. The IWT views the NRL as a platform for collective action towards nature conservation.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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