Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Ceisteanna - Questions
National Risk Assessment
This is a really important matter. One of our problems is that we debate issues such as biodiversity in isolation because they do not run across everything else we do. We do not have joined-up thinking on biodiversity. The national biodiversity action plan, published last year, should have been a wake-up call. It said that 90% of our habitats were in a bad or inadequate position. I refer to our peatlands. We are losing species, bees are under threat and yet we plough on with action plans in other areas without actual joined-up thinking in respect of them. We need to do that.
Deputy Martin Kenny is right to say that we will have another fodder shortage. We import fodder because we have a developmental strategy for agriculture that is not sustainable. We have to decide what the island can sustain - for example, in regard to herd numbers - and what biodiversity we want. We must not set growth as the overarching objective that trumps all else. We need to think long and hard about what the island of Ireland will look like, what species we are determined to protect and what sort of joined-up thinking - running across economic policy, agricultural policy, transport policy and so on - is required to achieve those objectives.