Hackett ‘calls for action on the Programme for Government biodiversity commitments’

Minister Pippa Hackett supported her Green Party colleagues in the Seanad yesterday (Thursday, November 6) as they endorsed the Dáil’s 2019 “declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency”.

The senator has also called for the Programme for Government commitments regarding biodiversity “to be acted upon as soon as possible”.

Welcoming the Private Members’ Motion, which was moved by Senators Pauline O’Reilly, Roisín Garvey and Vincent P. Martin, Minister Hackett said she welcomes the focus on the biodiversity emergency and is “grateful” to the senators using their Private Members’ time to “call attention to it”.

“We simply must protect nature. It doesn’t just underpin every facet of our lives; it is essential to our survival,” the senator, with responsibility for land use and biodiversity, said.

“And the fact that biodiversity, in a global and national context is declining at rates never seen before, is a frightening fact – which must be addressed as a matter of urgency.’’

‘I see my role as supporting farmers who care about the land’

While endorsing the steps “already taken to date at local, national and European level to address the ongoing emergency”, the motion called for government to act upon the Programme for Government’s commitments regarding biodiversity “as soon as possible”.

In speaking to the motion, Minister Hackett recognised “the significant role agriculture can play in bringing nature back into our lives”, stating: ‘‘I see my role as supporting farmers who care about land – I know that is the vast majority of them.

But farmers who know about nature and care about nature need a range of supports so that they can move to the more sustainable, less intensive practices which will support biodiversity.

“I intend to deliver those supports.’’

Local authorities need more funding to promote biodiversity – senator

Fine Gael senator Aisling Dolan has urged Minister Hackett to fund local authorities to ensure biodiversity is protected.

“Like the minister herself, I also come from a farming background and I understand; I’ve grown up on a farm; I’ve worked on a farm; I got the Green Cert,” said senator Dolan.

“I suppose the amount of information and research that has been done in the last 10 to 20 years that shows us the impact in terms of the loss of wildlife and habitats – it is shocking.

The importance of maintaining wildlife and increasing what we have is crucial. I do believe the local authorities have a crucial role here in doing that.