FG and SF fail to show climate leadership

EU’s Nature Restoration Law and marine habitats

A chara, – As reported in The Irish Times (“Fine Gael MEP criticises EU parliamentary group for leaving talks on nature restoration law”, News, June 4th), I welcome my colleague MEP Seán Kelly’s rowback on his political group’s decision to abandon negotiations of the landmark EU Nature Restoration Law recently. Unfortunately Mr Kelly’s statement came too little, too late and his political colleagues in the European People’s Party continue to rail against climate and environment action on a European level. Sinn Féin too has failed to show climate leadership, voting against the Nature Restoration Law in committee.

While rewetting targets of the Nature Restoration Law have grabbed headlines in recent weeks, it strikes me that today (June 8th) is World Ocean Day and little coverage has been given to the marine ambitions of the Nature Restoration Law. Our seas are not in good shape. Half of Ireland’s studied marine habitats are in decline, with over 85 per cent now in “unfavourable condition”. The Nature Restoration Law sets out to reverse this trend, with binding targets to restore 30 per cent of marine habitats to favourable status by 2030, in particular seagrass beds and high-carbon sediment beds. The law also plans to return 25,000km of European rivers to free flowing status, in order to tackle consistent flooding and help species like Atlantic salmon and the endangered European eel to recover. As an island nation, we should embrace this opportunity to reverse the damage we have done in previous decades and deliver a healthier, cleaner ocean for all denizens of Ireland. – Yours, etc,


European Parliament,