Dáil debates

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Ceisteanna - Questions

National Risk Assessment

4:35 pm

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party) | Oireachtas source

I thank the leader of Fianna Fáil for that courtesy. We need a land use plan that sets out how we will protect and develop diversity. Critically, if we get it right it will champion human diversity and life in rural Ireland. There was a meeting on Friday night in Leitrim, where communities are utterly despondent and do not see a future. They see their area covered in tree plantations or land being abandoned. We need to stop this and change it. We can do it best by setting ourselves a goal of creating a massive national park, not just in pockets but taking the whole Wild Atlantic way and seeing it as a national park where we protect biodiversity, and in doing that, create tens of thousands of jobs in forestry, tourism, clean energy and high-quality high-value food production where animal welfare comes first. What we need is a quantum leap and not just a tweak in the existing system. We should start with a tenfold increase in the budget for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which is a Cinderella in the Irish public service. It does not have the resources we need. Put this into the plan and scale up the thinking on biodiversity because that is the answer to rural Ireland's future as much as anything else.


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