The move by the Government to lead a call for EU member states to adopt the Nature Restoration Law shows “complete contempt” to farmers, European election candidate Eddie Punch has said.

“The Government parties are showing complete contempt for the concerns of Irish farmers by leading the campaign to resurrect the EU’s Nature Restoration Law, despite the fact that it is built on false estimates of emissions when it comes to Irish peatland,” he said.

Earlier this week, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan and Minister of State for nature Malcolm Noonan led a letter, which was signed by 10 other member states, calling for all countries in the bloc to support the law at an upcoming vote on 17 June.


The candidate for Ireland South said the Nature Restoration Law has been “thoroughly discredited”.

“Recent media headlines, such as ‘Ireland leads call for EU to adopt Nature Restoration Law’, should be a source of significant concern not only to Irish farmers and rural dwellers, but for every citizen in the State.

“Collective responsibility is a key tenet of government.

“And while the most prominent Irish Government noises advocating for the adoption of the Nature Restoration Law at next month’s European Council meeting are from the Green Party, neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil can be let off the hook when it comes to this hugely significant piece of legislation,” he said.

The vote taking place following the upcoming European elections, Punch said, means that it is governments with “weakened European Parliament mandates” that will decide the law’s future.


On his opposition of the law, Punch said he has three reasons - the first being the funding is too vague.

“One, the promise of potential additional funding given the law’s current wording is far too vague.

“Two, the debate was based on emissions estimates that were inaccurate to the tune of 280% when it came to Irish peatlands.

“Three, the 90% restoration target for habitats by 2050 will take control away from our next generation of farmers.

“A debate of this magnitude requires accuracy, rather than estimation, and it’s only right and fair that farmers are appropriately paid for carbon sinks on their holdings,” he added.