Jennifer Whitmore TD

Government parties must present a united front before law is discussed at plenary session of European Parliament next month

The Government must be unequivocal in its support for Nature Restoration Law following today’s rejection of the proposed legislation by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on climate action and biodiversity, said:

“Today’s tied vote result, which saw 44 MEPs in favour and 44 against, means the Environment Committee will recommend rejection of Nature Restoration Law when it goes before the plenary session of the European Parliament in mid-July.

“The entire debate surrounding nature restoration – both in Ireland and in Europe – has been characterised by political grandstanding, misinformation and scaremongering.

“Opposition to the law by the European People’s Party (EPP) – to which Fine Gael MEPs are aligned – has been a major impediment to getting it across the line. Comments made by the Taoiseach, who said he believes the law goes too far, have also been deeply unhelpful and divisive during this debate.

“While the rewetting of peatland has emerged as the main point of tension in Ireland, many of the fears – which are being stoked up by certain TDs and Irish MEPs – are unfounded. In fact, most of the rewetting can take place on State-owned lands and there are funding supports proposed to help those most affected, such as farmers.

“This continent-wide law calls for binding targets to restore degraded ecosystems – particularly those with the most potential to capture and store carbon – and reduce the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss. The measures will cover at least 20 per cent of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030, and ultimately all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.

“The Coalition parties must be coherent on the urgent need for nature restoration and present a united front in the run up to next month’s plenary session of the European Parliament.

“The stakes could not be any higher. If this crucial law fails to go through, it will rank as one of the greatest EU political failures of all time.”

June 27, 2023

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