Press release

Ireland to continue fight for Nature Restoration Law

25th March 2024

The Green Party pledged today (Monday, March 25) that Ireland will continue the fight for the Nature Restoration Law after ministers from across the European Union delayed a vote on the measure.

The Regulation is faltering at the last step as the EU Environment Council of Ministers struggles to reach a conclusion. 

A vote had been due today in Brussels. However, the Belgian Presidency delayed the vote as some are backtracking on their original support for the proposed law amid a campaign of misinformation from right-wing and populist groups.

Ministers are expected to make a final decision in the coming months. Ministers had previously voted in favour of the Regulation and the recent decision by some Member States to change sides in the debate is highly unusual.

Commenting on the situation, Minister for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, said:

“It’s outrageous that the Nature Restoration Law is being held to ransom in Europe. There is no legitimate argument against restoring nature. It’s vital for climate resilience, food security and public health. Delivering it will bring huge benefits to communities, both rural and urban, with significant returns on investment. The web of life, which is breaking apart before our eyes, is too important to be treated like a political football. Ireland stands firmly in support of the Nature Restoration Law, as it has done since the start. We cannot and will not give up hope, and we will continue to fight for this vital legislation.”

Speaking at the EU Environment Council meeting in Brussels, Minister for the Environment, Eamon Ryan TD, said:

“At home, the Nature Restoration Law has been comprehensively endorsed by the Irish Government, the Dail and Irish MEPs. In Europe, the Parliament and the Council held separate negotiations and agreed their positions. Following a lengthy trialogue process, the Parliament voted in favour of the final text just a few weeks ago. It’s now up to us in the Council of Ministers to do the same. If we don’t agree to what we’ve already negotiated, we undermine the entire European legislative process. That is what is at stake here, as well as the urgent need to protect and restore nature in line with our global and national commitments.”

Green MEP for Ireland South, Grace O’Sullivan, also commented:

“Significant compromises were made to get the Nature Restoration Law to this point, and it is absolutely unacceptable that narrow political interests are threatening to derail this vital legislation at the last minute, following its endorsement by the European Parliament. In my 40-plus years as an environmental campaigner, I’ve never come across a more obviously beneficial policy than nature restoration. There are few public policy interventions, if any, that come close to the return-on-investment nature provides - it’s a no-brainer. The Governments who are holding out must get on with it and do their jobs. Nature can’t wait.”

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