Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 21 February 2018

'Pandering to the greens' - Farmers slam Fianna Fail for 'u-turn' on hedgecutting laws

Fianna Fáil’s amendment seeks to restrict the proposed cutting of hedgerows in August exclusively to road-side hedges.
Fianna Fáil’s amendment seeks to restrict the proposed cutting of hedgerows in August exclusively to road-side hedges.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Fianna Fáil’s proposal to introduce changes in the Heritage Bill, which will restrict the cutting of hedgerows, exclusively to roadside hedges, has been strongly criticised by IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney.

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 which he said would allow for a more managed approach to hedge cutting during August along roadside hedges and at time of cereal sowing and grass reseeding.

He said 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.”

Cooney said, IFA will meet Fianna Fáil in the coming days 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,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael Cork Senator Tim Lombard described Fianna Fáil’s amendment to the Heritage Bill on hedge cutting as "useless for farmers".

Also Read


Fianna Fáil’s amendment seeks to restrict the proposed cutting of hedgerows in August exclusively to road-side hedges.

Under current legislation, farmers are not permitted to cut hedgerows between March 1st and August 31st.

The Bill seeks to provide for a pilot scheme of managed hedge cutting under strict criteria in August to ensure road safety and enable greater land management.

Senator Lombard said: “The Heritage Bill 2016 has come before the Seanad on two separate occasions and will be in the Seanad again next week where it will be discussed until late Wednesday night.

“Initially this Bill was supported by Fianna Fáil. The party has since done a complete turn and has now proposed an amendment to the Bill which would see only road-side hedges trimmed during August.

“This amendment dilutes one of the objectives of the Heritage Bill pilot scheme, thus rendering it ineffective," he said.

Online Editors