October 24th, 2017
Kildare County Council passed a motion calling on the Government to put pressure on the European Union to protect our soil yesterday afternoon.
The motion put forward by Councillor Sorcha O’Neill requested that Kildare County Council writes to Environment Minister, Denis Naughten, TD asking him to push the EU to introduce a Soils Directive to “safeguard Irish soils”.
Soil degradation now affects about one-third of global land area with widespread consequences including soil erosion, desertification, nutrient loss, and pollution. Despite this, soil has scarce protection under EU law.
Ms O’Neill said that she was “very grateful” to her colleagues for the unanimous support for the motion, which, she said, underlines the “timeliness and importance of action on this issue”.
She added that it is in Ireland’s best interests to take action now otherwise our “food supply is at risk”.
“Studies have already proven that overproduction and overuse of chemicals have dramatically depleted the nutrients we get from our food,” she added.
Ms O’Neill’s motion follows on from the People4Soil petition which called on the European Commission to introduce a common framework for soil protection.
After a year of campaigning by a network of 550 groups from 26 states, 210,000 signatures were collected across Europe by the September 2017 deadline.
Led by the Environmental Pillar – a coalition of 26 national environmental NGOs – the Irish branch of the campaign collected 9,100 signatures, smashing the Irish official target of 8,250.
Ireland was also the first country to reach its national quota and achieved the second highest percentage tally behind only Italy.
The campaign was supported by Uplift, Friends of the Earth Ireland, and some of Ireland’s leading organic farmers, chefs and restauranteurs, including Darina Allen.
Michael Ewing, Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar, said that the coalition was delighted that the motion passed in Kildare and hoped that “the Government will show the same support for the protection of our soil”.
He added: “Dedicated citizens across the country have already shown their support for protection of our soil to ensure healthy soil for clean water, flood relief, a safe environment, and quality food for our future.
“Hopefully this motion will receive the support it deserves from our Government and act as the starting point to push for change in Brussels.”