Fianna Fáil retracts support of important legislation for farmers.

31st March, 2017

Fine Gael Carlow TD, Pat Deering, has said Fianna Fáil has turned its back on rural Ireland by not supporting the Heritage Bill 2016 in its entirety.

On Wednesday Fianna Fáil voted against the Heritage Bill proposal of a pilot scheme of managed hedge trimming under strict criteria in August to ensure road safety and enable greater land management.

Deputy Deering said: “Initially this legislation was supported by Fianna Fáil. The party has since done a complete U- turn and voted against it in the Seanad.

“The party has contradicted their original commitments and completely turned their back on rural Ireland, showing that the farming community is not a priority for them.

“The Heritage Bill set out to do two things. One was to help the farming community manage certain adverse conditions pertaining to land use whilst seeding grass and winter cereals. That was the objective from an agricultural point of view. The other purpose was to increase rural road safety for the month of August.

“Anyone who understands rural Ireland is aware that one of the significant and recurring issues brought before the local councils is hedge cutting. It is raised time and time again due to the hazards untrimmed hedges create for road users, cyclists and pedestrians in particular, as well as the hindrance it causes during certain aspects of farm and land management.”

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

Fine Gael’s Heritage Bill proposed a pilot scheme of managed hedge cutting under strict criteria in August to ensure road safety and enable greater land management.

Deering continued: “There needs to be a degree of flexibility between rural land management and environment protection.

“I am very disappointed that Fianna Fáil have shown total disregard for the farming community by not supporting this important legislation in its entirety.”