Fianna Fail Seanad Spokesperson on Agriculture Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has said that the Government’s decision to block a Fianna Fáil proposal to make the process of selection of Special Protection Areas more transparent is a categorical attack on landowners and farmers.
 
Senator Ó Domhnaill said: “The designation of lands as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) is causing much annoyance to farmers/landowners all over the country. The designations are being made under the EU Birds and Habitats Directive.
 
“However in recent weeks, six specific areas in my own constituency have been designated as SPAs, but in some instances the landowners have not received any notification whatsoever.
 
“The amendment I proposed to the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011, which was before the Seanad this week, would have made it compulsory for a consultation meeting to take place between officials from the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltachta Affairs and each landowner prior to the issuing of any formal notification.
 
“I believe the blocking of this provision is a missed opportunity. Landowners must be given the opportunity to put forward their own suggestions before they are hit with a formal notification.”