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A landmark day and a win for nature

Today was a great day for nature and for Europe. The Nature Restoration Law - which was on a knife edge yet again - has passed in the European Parliament. The EPP and the far right in the parliament tried to put a stop this vital legislation - they took on nature and they lost. I want to extend my gratitude and give credit to all the Irish MEPs who voted in favour of this landmark law, while noting my disappointment with those who did not. Eleven of our thirteen MEPs voted in favour of the NRL today, and they should be commended for that.

Today’s vote is extremely positive news. Not just for nature and wildlife across Europe, but for all of us as well. The future of human civilisation depends entirely on healthy, functioning ecosystems, but these life support systems are declining dangerously. We are in a biodiversity emergency. The Nature Restoration Law will bring unprecedented action and investment to this challenge, and not a minute too soon. 


We can be proud today that Ireland has demonstrated real leadership on nature restoration throughout this process, and I'm proud of European Green colleagues who have remained steadfast throughout, as the NRL has come under attack. The Irish Government has also supported the Nature Restoration Law at every step, as has the Dáil - members voted 121 to 9 in favour of nature restoration last year. 

Our focus now turns to the development of Ireland’s Nature Restoration Plan. It is my intention to work with the Minister for Finance to ensure that the Government’s €3.15bn Climate and Nature Fund, which was announced as part of Budget 2024, will underpin the implementation of nature restoration measures across the country and deliver real benefits for rural economies.

Large-scale restoration of nature has the potential to provide additional income streams for farmers, foresters, fishers and other landowners. It will create jobs and stimulate downstream industries, such as eco-tourism, bringing real stimulus to rural economies. Tens of thousands of farmers across the country are already taking part in schemes, projects and programmes to restore nature. I have seen for myself the amazing work they are doing. Meanwhile communities all across the country – both urban and rural – are putting their shoulders to the wheel as well, developing projects and plans to support nature in their local area. Just today, I got approval at Cabinet to invest €110m in the restoration of our rivers so that they can run free. Ireland’s Nature Restoration Plan will build on these successes, expand and empower them. We need to turn the tide on biodiversity loss and take the first steps towards restoring nature, and we need to do it together. That’s what this Government is committed to delivering on.


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