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“I get very frustrated at the artificial divide between farmers and the environment. Farmers are the people who maintain the landscape and sustain rural communities.
“We told farmers to rip out hedgerows, drain their land and lash on the fertilizers. By the time I left we were teaching farmers how to plant hedgerows, stop draining their land and question the inputs onto their land,” she says.
For Sheehan, it’s all about conserving water, increasing biodiversity and spraying less fertilizer on his land in the Bride Valley in east Cork.
Sheehan is also part of the Bride project which is a €1 million scheme that rewards farmers for looking after habitats in bogs, ponds, hedgerows and woodland.
“We put in wildlife crops and feeders and now we see how the barn owls feed on the rodents that we previously put out poison for.
If you respect nature, it will reward you,” he says.