In the wake of yesterday’s decision by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, TD not to proceed with plans to extend hedgerow cutting into August, a newsletter landed in my inbox.
It was from Birdwatch Ireland’s Assistant Head of Policy and Advocacy, Oonagh Duggan.
In it, Oonagh applauded the Minister’s decision and highlighted the powerful language Josepha Madigan had used in her announcement.
“I don’t think that I have seen such strong words from any Minister for Nature before, which is heartening,” wrote Oonagh. “The tide seems to be turning for the better for nature protection in Ireland, but we need to convey our support for this change in direction.”
To do that, she urged Birdwatch Ireland members to write to the Minister showing their appreciation of this positive and potentially ground-breaking action for nature. It’s a great idea. The more support Minister Madigan sees for her decision, the more likely she is to take her next step down a path to more pro-active nature conservation in the face of pressure from some of Ireland’s most powerful lobby groups.
Here’s a predictably blinkered response from the IFA on Twitter, for example:
Disappointing that Heritage Minister @josephamadigan is not allowing the pilot scheme on hedge cutting, which is part of the 2018 Heritage Bill. @IFAmedia will be looking for a meeting with the Minister to seek clarification on this issue and to discuss other issues. https://t.co/jrMKQzHPp9— Irish Farmers' Assoc (@IFAmedia) July 16, 2019
I wrote my email this morning and encourage you to do the same. You’ll find the Minister’s contact details here.