Fight to stop Heritage Bill not over yet, say Greens

9th November 2017

Fianna Fáil fail to show leadership; a missed opportunity to be a real party of opposition

Green Party Deputy Leader and TD for Dublin Rathdown, Catherine Martin has today criticised Fianna Fáil’s support for the Heritage Bill.

Speaking following the vote, Deputy Martin said: “This is a hugely disappointing development. Fianna Fáil has shown an appalling lack of leadership on this matter. They had an opportunity to hold this Government to account, an opportunity to safeguard and protect the future of the Irish countryside but they chose to support Fine Gael and in doing so showed disregard and disrespect for our heritage, our wildlife and our biodiversity. They have shown themselves as indistinct from Fine Gael on this issue.

“Last night I spoke in the Dáil about the dreadful impact this will have on our environment; the countryside will be severely damaged by any extension of uplands burning and hedge-cutting. We have seen the devastating effects this Bill will have already this year – in less than two months, from March 24th to May 22ndr, the Irish Wildlife Trust recorded 97 illegal wildfires in rural areas. 39 of these were in special conservation areas which are protected by EU habitats legislation. This is a sign of things to come when this Bill is enacted.

“The fight against the Heritage Bill is not over yet. We will work with NGOs, key stakeholders and other politicians to keep up the pressure to stop this Bill at Committee Stage. There is still time for action. However, if this Bill is passed into law, there will be no time left for much of Ireland’s wildlife.”