“We absolutely have to work hand-in-hand with those farmers, who are important custodians of the land.”
“We must also pay them properly. The land use plan will not involve going down to the level of individual farmers and telling them to do this, that or the other because, to be honest, they are best placed to know how to manage the land.”
Those were the words of Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, during a debate on the National Oil Reserves Agency (Amendment)and Provision of Central Treasury Services Bill 2020: second stage.
“They [farmers] know the land and what happens on it better than anyone in an office in Brussels, Dublin or anywhere else possibly could.” he stressed.
In those Dublin offices, he said, there is a responsibility to shape the support mechanisms and income supports to ensure that tens of thousands of young farmers will continue the “proud tradition” of Irish family farms and of people managing and protecting land.
“This land use plan is absolutely in the interests of, and to the benefit of, family farms, particularly in the north, west and south-west of the country.”
He said it will help to deliver the income that will “give them a future and opportunity”.
With regard to amendment no. 11, he agreed that the Government should look at measures being developed with regard to carbon sequestration, not only in the implementation of this fund, but in other ways also.
Ryan said the rewetting of bogs under the land use plan is critical as it will allow to store carbon and to prevent its future release through bog fires.
“It will also help to restore biodiversity. Deputy Whitmore is absolutely right when she says it is probably one of the best ways to improve water quality, restore biodiversity and tackle carbon emissions.”
“We must fund that not only through this climate fund, but through other mechanisms as well because the scale of what we need to do is beyond compare.”
‘No other here wagging fingers’
He said there are certain areas, peaty boglands, for example, where grazing cattle and sheep provide climate benefits because in the absence of the cattle grazing, one would see natural birch vegetation coming back up which would drain the peaty soils which would release carbon.
“There is no one here wagging fingers or telling any farmer what he is doing is wrong and what another is doing is right.”
“Farmers, particularly those working more marginal lands in the north and west, are some of the best and most important people with regard to protecting and looking after nature. We need to stop shaming them [farmers] as part of the climate story.”
There is no one here wagging fingers or telling any farmer what he is doing is wrong and what another is doing is right.
Farmers, particularly those working more marginal lands in the north and west, are some of the best and most important people with regard to protecting and looking after nature. We need to stop shaming them as part of the climate story.
Image source: Eamon Ryan / Facebook