IFA says plan ‘panders to Greens’
IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has strongly criticised Fianna Fáil’s proposal to introduce changes in the Heritage Bill, which will restrict the cutting of hedgerows, exclusively to roadside hedges.
Thomas Cooney said: “Fianna Fáil has now effectively done a u-turn and pandered to the Greens, having previously given clear commitments to farmers across the country that they would support the Government’s proposal to introduce a pilot two-year project, which would allow for a more managed approach to hedge cutting during August along roadside hedges and at time of cereal sowing and grass reseeding.
“IFA fully supports Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys’ proposals as we believe they are fair and balanced and provide flexibility, while ensuring biodiversity protection. However, Fianna Fáil’s change in position now jeopardises the pilot project, which provides the basis to learn from the findings and establish long-term solutions.”
Concluding, Thomas Cooney said: “IFA will meet Fianna Fáil and strongly encourage them to rethink their change in position. Protecting the environment is not the preserve of the Green Party or Fianna Fáil. Farmers want to play our part and Minister Humphreys’ pilot proposal should be fully supported, as it forms a basis to get the right balance between protecting the environment and supporting best farming practices.”