The Supreme Court has struck down two provisions of Irish planning law for being in breach of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. The Judgment clearly vindicates An Taisce’s public interest watchdog role in environmental protection in Ireland and further advances the prominence and protection of European Environmental Law.
The response for Ireland’s food future must be diversification to growing a range of nutrient crops on a soil, area and scale-appropriate basis. To meet the nutrition sources set out in the EAT Lancet reference diet, reduce imports, and sustain Irish farming and rural economies, there must be an immediate turnaround.
In addition to health impacts in Ireland's rural areas, ammonia emissions from agriculture account for around 50% of the total health impacts of polluted air in urban areas. Moreover, ammonia emissions have risen steadily, year on year, in line with government policy to expand dairy and other animal agriculture.
As politicians are prone to saying: “We are where we are” and we need to look beyond the short term consequences of illness, deaths, and economies in free fall. The present situation will come to an end, be it in a few months or longer. Where do we want to be positioned as a country in the recovery phase? What lessons have we learned?
The current model of agriculture in Ireland is broken. Anything other than a radical shift in focus in the next agri-food strategy to domestic food security within a system of enforced limits on absolute annual and cumulative pollution will be environmentally unjustifiable.
Bringing wolves back to Ireland has many supporters, but for many it is all just a stretch too far. The conflict would be fierce and fraught, at least if current attitudes to nature are anything to go by. Can’t we just manage what we have? Why would we reintroduce controversial animals like wolves when there are clearly so many species already here and which are crying out for a lifeline?