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SF MEP defends voting against nature restoration law

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has said that a decision by his party colleague, Senator Lynn Boylan, to welcome the passing of the EU’s Nature Restoration Law, was reflective of a party with a broad range of views.

He defended voting against the EU’s Nature Restoration Law this week, saying it failed to provide assurances around income for farmers.

The Midlands North West MEP described Sinn Féin as a “broad organisation”, but insisted that Senator Boylan’s comments did not represent Sinn Féin’s official position on the Nature Restoration Law.

“Myself and [Sinn Féin’s Agriculture spokesperson] Claire Kerrane issued a press statement… through the Sinn Féin press office in this regard, stating what our Sinn Féin position was,” he told RTÉ’s European Parliament Report programme.

It had been expected that Mr MacManus would support the Nature Restoration Law when it went before a vote in the European Parliament on Tuesday. The law was approved by a margin of 54 votes.

Green MEP Grace O’Sullivan said she was “shocked” by Sinn Féin’s decision to vote against the NRL and appealed to Mr MacManus to change his vote.

“If this had gone down, if this had failed, we were in serious trouble,” she told the programme.

Her party colleague, Minister of State for Nature, Malcolm Noonan, has said that decisions around funding will be made over the next two years, during the law’s implementation period.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey said that while he had voted against the NRL previously, he decided to approve it at its final hurdle in parliament after receiving assurances at European Commission level, around compensation for farmers.

However, his Fine Gael colleague, Minister of State for the OPW, Patrick O’Donovan, criticised Fine Gael MEPs for supporting the nature law, expressing concern that it would impact flood relief schemes.

European Parliament Report will be broadcast on RTÉ One this Saturday at 10.30am.

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