Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD said today; "The Heritage Bill passed last night following a bitter and acrimonious debate in the Dáil. It will allow the burning of uplands in March and the cutting of hedgerows in August.
"We are weakening conservation rules when our natural world is on its knees. The anger on our side was because the Dáil was voting for a 'Silent spring' Heritage Bill. It will bring no obvious benefit for all the harm that will be done.
"The Government says the measures will be introduced on a pilot basis, any burning will be properly controlled and only hedgerows facing the road will be cut. However, we all see the lack of enforcement of existing environmental rules and the lack of monitoring resources in the National Parks and Wildlife service. Fine Gael are lighting a tinder box without a care for how the sparks may fly."
Green Party Deputy Leader, Catherine Martin T.D. stated “The Heritage Bill, spearheaded by Fine Gael and supported by Fianna Fáil, represents the most significant roll back of the legal protection for our wildlife in the history of our country.
There are only 125 pairs of breeding curlews left in Ireland and there is a real risk that the Heritage Bill will sound the death knell for them and other precious wildlife. Our children might never hear the cry of the curlew which is strongly associated with rural Ireland.
This Bill is only further confirmation that the environment and our country’s heritage is not safe in Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil’s hands.”