An Taisce condemns comments by turf cutting group encouraging persecution of protected hen harrier

4th September 2013
Press Release

An Taisce has today strongly condemned comments made by a Galway-based turf cutting group (the Barroughter & Clonmoylan Bogs Action Group) regarding the hen harrier, a rare and strictly protected bird of prey.

The comments, made on the Group’s facebook page, urge the public to “Keep an eye out during the coming months for this pest of a Hawk, also known as a hen harrier’. The hen harrier, the Group continues, “kills a lot of small creatures in our bogs. Make sure that none of them land on our...Bogs and above all that they do not nest in them. This is an undesirable pest in our community and he rightly belongs in the Zoo. He is another cause of Irish State restrictions in our Private Property.”

The hen harrier is a species of conservation concern protected by EU and Irish law. Its population has suffered marked declines in Ireland in recent years. A 2010 national hen harrier survey revealed severe declines in some areas of Ireland, particularly in the west, south‐west and in several Special Protection Areas for the species. A recent all-Ireland estimate recorded a probable population of 158 to 205 territorial pairs, with around 60 of these pairs in Northern Ireland.

An Taisce’s Natural Environment Officer commented, “These beautiful birds of prey are rare and protected, and we are staggered by these remarks from the Barroughter & Clonmoylan Bogs Action Group. In addition to breaking the law by digging up and burning protected habitats within our few raised bog Special Areas of Conservation, this turf cutting group now wants to support the persecution of one of Ireland’s most iconic protected species. This further undermines turf cutters’ already spurious claims to be pro-conservation, and will serve to further alienate their already dwindling support. Let us be clear: persecuting hen harriers by interfering with their nesting sites, for example, is a criminal offence. We condemn the comments and behaviour of this turf cutting group in the strongest possible terms.”

P.S It has come to our notice that this post has been removed along with the many comments that it attracted – however, here is a screen grab:

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Andrew Jackson, Natural Environment Officer, An Taisce – Tel: +353 1 7077066

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce +353 87 2411995

Email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

www.antaisce.ie

Notes to Editors:

  1. The original post can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Barroughter-Clonmoylan-Bogs-Action-Group/195445003875984.

  2. See Ruddock, M. & Dunlop, B.J., O’Toole, L., Mee, A., Nagle, T. (2012). Republic of Ireland National Hen Harrier Survey 2010. Irish Wildlife Manual, No. 59. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dublin, Ireland. http://www.npws.ie/publications/irishwildlifemanuals/IWM59.pdf.