Seanad debates

Monday, 22 March 2021

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Erin McGreehanErin McGreehan (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

This week marks national tree week. It would be remiss of me not to mention this, my real passion for trees and, in particular, native Irish trees. If one does not plant a tree this week, I would urge one to learn about the folklore behind each and every one of them.

Alder is this month's tree. Alder was seen in old Irish traditions as the first tree from which man sprang. We can blame the alder for that. It was also used to make shields. I always thought the Red Branch Knights of Ulster was a strange name for an ancient Irish army. However, its name in Irish is Craobh Rua. The Red Branch Knights made their shields from alder and when one cuts alder, it turns red. One, therefore, had an army of red branches coming towards one.

On a serious note, will the Leader invite the Minister to the Chamber to debate how we can harness the carbon sequestration of our hedgerows? We have 400,000 km of hedgerows in the country, a positive legacy the British left us when they parcelled up our land. There are really positive environmental issues that we can bring in if we look at what our hedgerows provide. Up to 0.66 to 3.3 tonnes of carbon can be sequestered by 1 ha of hedgerow. Bringing a beef animal to slaughter will only produce 20 kg of carbon. We have to appreciate what our farms are already doing for the environment and give credit to the farmers and hedgerows. A proper hedgerow management plan for each of our farmers in the new rural environment protection scheme is needed.


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