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We really need to get our act together on biodiversity

March 19th, 2024 8:00 PM

We really need to get our act together on biodiversity Image

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EDITOR – There’s been a lot of misinformation, angst and politicking around a new Nature Restoration Law.

One thing for sure, though, is that Ireland needs to get its act together on doing more for nature and a big part of that is going to be funding arrangements for farmers and other landowners.

So it’s very good to hear that the Department of Agriculture will fund all 46,000 applications by farmers for the new Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme (Acres).

A lot of West Cork farmers must be in the new scheme. That’s new money and a better environment to come. There’s a lot more to do, though, to ‘stop the rot’ – the ongoing loss of biodiversity – and other farm-facing investments are really going to be necessary to win the big pro-nature shifts.

So again it’s good to see the recent announcement by Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan for a new €30m government scheme for the conservation of breeding waders (ie lapwing and curlew).

These fabulous birds, so associated with farmed habitats, deserve a better deal. They are surely a sign of habitats in good condition. Checking the 2022 book Birds of County Cork by Patrick Smiddy, what we learn, though, is that both species have long since declined to local extinction in West Cork.

There’s not one pair of breeding lapwing or curlew in this part of Ireland – one that trades so much on the quality of its environment.

My hope is that we will see more nature in West Cork, not less. What chance, then, that a landowner in our patch will come forward with a project to bring the lapwing back as a breeding bird?

With time, a restored wetland should do it. Wouldn’t such a project be so symbolic of West Cork playing its part in a nature-rich Ireland?

Mark Robins,

Government got its answer at the ballot box on Friday

EDITOR - This government is out of touch with the people of Ireland on this referendum and we got our answer with the ballot box last Friday.

There will be a lot of finger-pointing about who is to blame for this fiasco.

The coalition wasted €20m of taxpayers’ money running a vote people did not want, which is money which would have been better used for our hospitals and the homeless.

The vague and confusing wording of their amendments left people concerned that they could have unintended consequences and no benefits. Ireland shot down the proposals.

As the saying goes, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it and all the parties pushed for a yes vote except Aontú and Independent Ireland. What does this message tell this government?

It is the people on the doors that matter and they have the last say on how this country is run.

Noel Harrington,
Co Cork.

We need a railway more than a greenway

EDITOR – I read that we may be getting a Greenway from Cork to Clonakilty and possibly beyond.

A pressing priority would be to have a light rail system for West Cork, since the disastrous decision to close the West Cork Railway in 1961, the pressure of traffic, be it freight or otherwise, on our very potholed roads, has got to breaking point.

We are a wealthy country and it’s high time that Cork South West gets this system. It can be done – think of the amazing feats of engineering that went into building the railway more than 150 years ago. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Liam Ahern,
College Grove,

We must form sustainable habits from an early age

EDITOR – Research shows that when habits form early in young people, they are then difficult to change. Promoting sustainable food purchasing needs to start young.

Education on how to recognise sustainable food on packaging is crucial – eg promoting sustainable symbols on food packaging, getting rid of the misinformation and lack of clarity, or using acronyms like FACTORS to help people purchase sustainably.

This means f – form new habits, a – awareness, c – carbon neutral, t – try new brands, o – organic, r – recyclable packaging, s – sourced locally. Our young people can be impactors by considering sustainable food FACTORS!

Emily Drinan and Robyn Whelton,
Second year students,
ECO-UNESCO Youth Environmentalist project,
Schull Community College.

Many factors influencing housing shortage

EDITOR – Dewy-eyed opposition politicians who pick numbers of 40,000, 50,000, or 60,000 newly-built houses out of their posteriors and call it a policy do not deserve to be elected to government.

They make no reference to building material inflation and shortages caused by Covid or the war in East Ukraine.

They make no reference to the fact we are at full employment. Anyone in the real world, who recently needed an electrician, plumber or carpenter knows these tradesmen are not there.

Modern, new-built houses have to conform to myriad regulations and house building now needs highly-trained builders. This training has to be set in place. Welcome to the real world Eoin, Holly and Mary Lou.

Michael Hallissey,

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