The Mammal Atlas maps almost a quarter of a million sightings of 72 species of marine and terrestrial mammal. It brings together data from 57 different datasets, and includes more than 15,000 records that were submitted directly to the Data Centre from 2,400 different recorders over the five years of the data collection phase. All of these records have been extremely valuable in building up a comprehensive picture of the distribution of mammals in Ireland. It has been a very large collaborative project, and would not have been possible to produce without the contribution and support of a large number of people and organisations.
The Mammal Atlas runs to over 200 pages and has chapters on the Origins of mammals in Ireland, Mammal research in Ireland, Legislation and wild mammals in Ireland, Advances in mammal studies using genetic analysis, and Future outlook for mammals in Ireland. The main part of the Atlas are the Species Accounts of 72 terrestrial and marine mammals, written by 42 leading experts in Ireland. They provide information on the identification, distribution, habitat, ecology and population of each species, and presents two distribution maps showing the pre 2010 and 2010-2015 distribution. Other features include a chart showing the distribution of sightings broken down by month, and the Red List Status. I attach an example of both a terrestrial and marine mammals to give you an idea of what the final publication will look like.
The number of records that were submitted for inclusion in the Mammal Atlas far exceeded our expectations, but we now have a very solid baseline of mammal distribution in Ireland and its marine waters, to serve as a benchmark against which future changes can be tracked.
National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Heritage Council have contributed very generously to the publication costs of the Atlas, so we are able to keep the cost of the A4 hardback Atlas to €25 (plus postage and packaging). This can be ordered directly from the Data Centre
Apart from the Politicians, there are no snakes in Ireland!
Following the last Ice Age, Ireland split off from the European land mass before Great Britain did. The snakes that recolonised Britain didn't arrive until it was too late
Ireland is home to two species of land dwelling reptile, the viviparous lizard and the slow worm. The viviparous lizard, or common lizard, is a native Irish reptile
The common lizard, which is often confused with newts in sightings. A key identifier is the more 'snake like' head. It is more prevelant around the costal areas, but sightings have occured all over Ireland
The slow worm looks like a snake bit is actually a legless reptile it can be found in the Burren area of Clare basking on the karst surface
One theory is that the slow worm was introduced by new age travellers who kept them as pets with a few escaping to establish small populations in the wild
During the Celtic Tiger economic bubble, snakes were popular pets and after the crash, the cost of upkeep lead some to being released to the wild
Think you are environmentally aware? Are you one of the exceptions who is doing.your bit for the planet? The answer is that even if you think you are, you are actually naive. People are carrying on and increasing their environmentally destructive lifestyles. There’s an end of the world party going on and it is being heavily promoted and cashed in on by industry.
There is an insidious lie being spun. A shiny sustainable movement unhinged from environmental metrics and spun by marketing companies funded by state agencies which informs us that we are greening our world and by association alleviating our inherent guilt at the destruction of our landbase.
We love to believe we are making a small difference by using recycled cups in work or posting our social media urges to stop using single use plastic, but the climate reality impact of our flights and tourism impact is neatly ignored by most.
And we are to blame on an individual level. Where do you think the demand for goods and services created by "business" comes from? Every time we buy anything we're consuming all the energy involved in creating that item and getting it to our doorstep. All the energy involved in "business" is accountable to individuals that value those goods and services.
No one in this cycle is paying the damages or externalities created by this consumption and production. Corporations have to reduce their production, and people have to reduce their consumption. Everyone has to give up some standard of living or some profits if we're to see this through without major ecocide. We need to stop lying to ourselves that we are actually making any individual contribution.
If their activity has a negative cost externality, such as making pollution for others who are not benefiting from their activity, they should pay a tax on that. It's how a truly free market society should work, taxation on negative externalities.
You the average person think you have made made significant sacrifices in that you pay a lot of money via tax that pays for environmentally friendly things, rather than something else.
The number of people genuinely making conscious lifestyle changes to live "greener" because they care about the environment are still an extremely small minority. The most commonly impactful things are driven by either forced changes (gas prices, plastic bag taxes, etc) or direct financial incentives (appliance replacement incentives, solar installation incentives, etc).
People can stop buying stuff they don't need, change to a vegetarian/vegan diet (or at least massively reduce the amount of dairy and meat products), reduce energy consumption at home (electric stuff like lights, appliances, energy vampires, turn down heating/climate control) and reduce the amount they travel as far as possible and switch to a more environmental way where possible.
If people stop paying for environmentally disastrous products, businesses will whine and point at all kinds of scapegoats but ultimately, they will stop producing that stuff. Waiting for someone else to fix the problem without a change of lifestyle is just wishful thinking.
Taxation has been very mildly applied to some things that will help a bit, but people need to change their expectations of there being no consequence for their actions if we are going to pull back at all. Which they haven’t, they’ve increased the long haul, short holiday flights and the conspicuous consumption of resources. It’s probably too late, anyway.
When I was younger I read a book called The Day Sea Rolled back. Today it seemed like the sea had rolled all the way to the horizon. Dublin Bay was awash with sun; a heat haze divided the azure sky from the shimmering sand. I walked out directly across the bay towards the pigeon House from sandymount beach.
I followed the ripples of the sands, the tiny dunes stretching out in front of me. Pools of brackish water lay framed by small mounts of worm moulds. Razor clam shells littered the landscape, remnants of the feasting birds. Gulls glided over head.
Ringsend nature reserve sits on top of a hill, a green oasis amongst the white and glistening sands at ebb tide. This is a place of poise and seclusion. A place for peaceful observation of nature. At the heart of our City,
Male and female greenfinches sang to each other from the trees. Orange tip butterflies flitted amongst the verdant greens. The miraculous swelling of summer is occurring. As I sit here typing the sea has claimed back the dunes and the razor clams.
Ireland has a historic problem with bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle and since 1989 has been culling badgers in an effort to eradicate the disease. From the beginning the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) has opposed this approach, which sees healthy badgers, including pregnant or nursing females, snared and shot. To-date over 110,000 badgers have been killed in this way yet eradication is still a long way off. In its biennial report, published this week, University College Dublin researchers show the same problem areas around Ireland despite decades of badger culling. The policy must now be considered a failure.
To reach disease-free status – the goal of the eradication programme – would require the level of disease in cattle herds to be maintained at 0.1%, and despite small reductions in recent years the national level is currently at 3.37%, with some regions as high as 13%. An audit by the EU veterinary office in 2014 stated that the goal of eradication was ‘far away’. Yet in 2015, then Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney described the programme as ‘hugely successful’, claiming that eradication was his “personal ambition” and would be achieved by 2030.
IWT Campaign Officer Pádraic Fogarty says “Bovine TB is a scourge for Irish farmers but we have to now acknowledge that the badger culling programme has failed. We would urge the incoming Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to stop this pointless cull and initiate an independent review of the eradication programme.”
Badgers are an important part of our heritage and ecosystems but have been vilified for too long as the cause of the TB problem. The IWT has serious concerns that decades of intensive culling is resulting in the loss of badgers from large parts of agricultural land in Ireland.
 European Commission. 2014. Report of an audit carried out in Ireland from 21 to 28 May 2014
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of, and progress made by the programmes co-financed by the European Union to eradicate bovine tuberculosis.
 Oireachtas Agriculture Committee record, December 8th 2015
CONTACT: Padraic Fogarty - IWT's Campaigns Officer - 087 2959811 for further details.
Biodiversity is the variability amongst living organisms from all sources which includes diversity within and between different species, and ecosystems. Dublin City’s biodiversity consists of the wildlife and habitats located at North Bull Island, and also along the city’s coastline. Dublin biodiversity further includes Phoenix Park, rivers, canals and their riparian zones. Dublin supports à lot of legally-protected habitats along its coastline.
Invasive species of diverse living organisms, climate change issues such as global warming, the loss of habitats, environmental pollution, and anthropogenic activities, all collude to threaten Dublin’s biodiversity. Preserving Dublin’s biodiversity would require a combination of various approaches such as direct and appropriate management of the city’s biodiversity at both local and regional levels, as well as being able to identify and protect conservation high value areas in the city. This methods would also require going ‘green’, and stimulating awareness amongst the citizenry as regards their orientation towards biodiversity.
Dublin has over 750 public parks and green spaces, covering an estimated 1400 hectares of land. Private gardens make up one-quarter of the city’s land mass. Due to its propensity for harbouring invasive species as a result of too many pathways that lead into the city, the Dublin City Council is saddled with the responsibility of monitoring and controlling the influx of invasive alien species of living organisms. The National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC), is the national organization in charge of collating, managing, analyzing, and disseminating data on Ireland’s biodiversity.
In line with the outcome of UNESCO’s review of the Dublin Bay Biosphere sometime between 2012 and 2014, the Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership has been established for the management of the Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve. The Partnership/MOU consists of Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Dublin Port Company, and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
In all, the Dublin City Biodiversity Action Plan is not just restricted to the preservation of biodiversity in Dublin City alone. It is actually part of a grand objective to conserve the global biodiversity.
The OtterWhen you plunged
The light of Tuscany wavered
And swung through the pool
From top to bottom.
I loved your wet head and smashing crawl,
Your fine swimmer's back and shoulders
Surfacing and surfacing again
This year and every year since.
I sat dry-throated on the warm stones.
You were beyond me.
The mellowed clarities, the grape-deep air
Thinned and disappointed.
Thank God for the slow loadening,
When I hold you now
We are close and deep
As the atmosphere on water.
My two hands are plumbed water.
You are my palpable, lithe
Otter of memory
In the pool of the moment,
Turning to swim on your back,
Each silent, thigh-shaking kick
Re-tilting the light,
Heaving the cool at your neck.
And suddenly you're out,
Back again, intent as ever,
Heavy and frisky in your freshened pelt,
Printing the stones.
by Seamus Heaney
Brehon LawsIn pre-Christian Irish society, brehons or judges laid down the law. This early body of law is now recognised as probably the oldest known European example of a sophisticated legal system. The Brehon law survived relatively intact right through the Early Christian period and on to the arrival of the Normans. The waves of forced settlement that followed meant that this legal system’s days were numbered, although it did survive in part right up to the 17th century.
The Brehon laws were originally composed in poetic verse and memorised by the Brehons. As time went by, these laws were written down by Christian scholars. Today, texts like the 8th century Bretha Comaithchesa (or ‘Laws of the Neighbourhood’) prove just how advanced the Brehon legal system was for its time.
Brehon law was the law of a pastoral people, whose economics were based on a self-sufficient agricultural economy regulated by tribal and family relationships and where wealth was measured in terms of cattle ownership. There were no units of money and barter was the main form of exchange.
Crab apple – one of the ‘nobles of the wood’ (photo A. Bridge)
It should come as no surprise therefore that there were specific Brehon laws dealing with trees. Under these laws, certain trees and shrubs were protected because of their importance to the community. Penalties were imposed for any unlawful damage such as branch-cutting, barking or base-cutting.
There were four classes of tree, roughly mirroring classes in early Irish society. These were the airig fedo (‘nobles of the wood’), the aithig fedo (‘commoners of the wood’), the fodla fedo (‘lower divisions of the wood’) and the losa fedo (‘bushes of the wood’). Which group a tree belonged to depended on its economic importance, usually related to its fruit, timber or size when fully grown.
The díre or penalty for an offence was a fine in the form of livestock. The penalties were graded according to the class of tree harmed and the form of damage inflicted. The díre for felling one of the nobles of the wood was two and a half milk cows, while the penalty for cutting down one of the commoners of the wood was one milk cow, and so on.
This Old Irish Tree-List, as it has come to be known, not only provides us with a fascinating example of Brehon law in action, but also gives us some insight into the nature of ancient Irish society and the role and importance of trees in the daily lives of our ancestors.
TO: THE MINISTER FOR ARTS, HERITAGE AND THE GAELTACHT, HEATHER HUMPHREYS TD
NO TO MORE SLASH AND BURN!
We ask you to reconsider your proposal to change the Wildlife Act to allow for the burning of vegetation in March and the cutting of hedgerows in August and establish proper hedgerow and upland management regimes that works for farming, road safety and wildlife.
Why is this important?
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, has proposed changes to the Wildlife Act that will allow for the burning of vegetation in March and the cutting of hedgerows in August. We challenge this decision by the Minister on the grounds of the serious impact it will have on a range of wildlife species and habitats in Ireland - especially highly-threatened nesting birds and pollinators found in our hedgerows and uplands. The Bill to facilitate these changes is going to be fast-tracked through the Oireachtas prior to the forthcoming General Election. We ask you to please add your name to halt this Bill and save Irish wildlife.
Our hedgerows are a vital refuge for many native wildlife species in a landscape with little native woodland compared to other countries. Hedgerows provide food, shelter, nesting sites, habitat corridors and are an essential component for flood defenses, preventing soil erosion and the silting of rivers as well as carbon sequestration. Our hedgerows and upland habitats need proper management, though. Landowners and farmers must be supported to manage them in a way that works for farming, road safety and wildlife. Under existing rules, landowners have six months between September and February to manage hedgerows and uplands effectively and there is provision for hedgecutting for safety on our roads. Therefore, this decision is unwarranted, will cause a significant blow to already threatened wildlife species and goes against advice submitted by Birdwatch Ireland, An Taisce and the Irish Wildlife Trust.
The change to the hedge-cutting dates will lead to further declines in populations of Red-listed Yellowhammer, Linnet and Greenfinch birds and reduce essential food supplies for pollinators, of which a third are threatened with extinction.
Our upland breeding birds are experiencing significant declines with several species now of Conservation Concern, including the Red-listed Curlew, Golden Plover and Meadow Pipit. Breeding Curlew have experienced an almost 80% decline in the last 40 years. How sad it will be to lose the Cry of the Curlew in our lifetimes. Many of our upland habitats are of international importance and protected under the EU Habitats Directive. These habitats also provide a range of benefits to humans such as carbon sequestration, water filtration and attenuation to protect against floods. Why then is the Minister supporting any burning in the uplands given the fragile state of its wildlife and habitats? By allowing burning of our uplands into March, nesting activities of sensitive upland ground-nesting birds will be affected along with the breeding success of these populations.
We ask you to join us in our campaign to persuade the Government to reverse this decision before the Heritage Bill 2016, is passed through the Oireachtas. Sign our petition to show your support for the wildlife that do not have a voice. If we do nothing, we risk losing yet more of our natural heritage here in Ireland
t has been described as the most beautiful riverside walks in these islands but plans to introduce a Blueway along the River Barrow in Kildare and Carlow have become contentious. Broadcaster, journalist, Carlow-native and keen walker, Olivia O'Leary, argues why the current walk should be left as it is.
In the eighties, I spent about two years commuting to London. Often, I’d meet an old friend coming the other way. It was Fintan Ryan from my home town of Borris, an airline pilot and engineer. He was coming back from England just for the day so he could walk along the River Barrow . That, he said, was what kept him sane. I’m the same.
Step out on the grassy way which is the Barrow towpath and you have stepped into another world.You can walk along the river for miles without hearing a car or a lorry. You can’t even hear the sound of your own footsteps. You’ll hear the birds; the rush of the weirs; the wind in the trees. And little by little you’ll let go of your worries because the river has cast its spell.
There are fewer and fewer places in the world today which are quiet; where you can sit and watch a heron guarding his weir; or the swifts zig-zagging like a mad trapeze act over and back across the river ;or see a white owl flying low along the trees as the night falls. There are otters above Ballytiglea Bridge and down at Ballinagrane Lock, where we swim in the summer. Once,my sister and I looked sideways to notice another dark brown head swimming beside us. We ignored the otter and the otter ignored us until it suddenly dived below the water. As laid down in ‘The Wind in the Willows’,river etiquette demands that one does not comment on the sudden appearance or disappearance of one’s friends.
The towpath along the Barrow Navigation and the Barrow Line of the Grand Canal runs for 114 kilometres from Lowtown in Co. Kildare to St. Mullins, in Co. Carlow. Originally built so that horses could tow barges , the path is now a grassy carpet which runs the length of the waterway. That gentle surface is heaven for walkers. Older people like me find that we can go ten to fifteen kilometres -and even further- without any sense of fatigue. The grassy sod maintains a pace that accommodates walkers, and joggers, and cyclists and anglers. No one goes so fast that they intimidate anybody else and there is a friendliness and a camaraderie along the towpath which is a large part of its charm.
That is why so many people who live along the river are opposed to Waterways Ireland’s proposals to replace the grassy sward with a hard surface. This is to accommodate bicycles. But those of us in the Save the Barrow Line group argue that bicycles use the towpath as it is and that a hard surface changes the peaceful nature of this wild path. It is less welcoming to the wild creatures and the wild flowers. It encourages speed which is not ideal on a riverside path. After floods-and the river floods most years-the grassy path will recover naturally in time- but a hard surface may end up potholed. We are all in favour of more walkers and canoeists and cyclists and anglers but the grassy towpath is the green frame for the river, part of its soft beauty. Why destroy the very beauty we want visitors to see?
We are lucky in Carlow that we have the towpath running right down through the county; through Carlow town and down to Milford with its beautiful weir. On to historic Leighlinbridge which marks the edge of the Pale, and which has the oldest bridge on the river dating back to the fourteenth century. On through Bagenalstown,and Goresbridge.
But it is at Ballytiglea Bridge, just above Borris, that my favourite part of the river comes. Park here and walk downriver with deep woods on either side. On your left, you are walking past Borris House demesne. Borris House is the home of the McMurrough Kavanaghs whose ancestor Art McMurrough Kavanagh was High King of Leinster and took on the armies of Richard 11 in the fourteenth century. You come soon to the boat house from which his descendant,Arthur McMurrough Kavanagh of Borris House, used to take off downriver to sail to London in his own boat, the’ Eva’, which he anchored below the House of Commons. Born without arms or legs, he was a wonderful horseman,and had colourful adventures all over the world before he became MP for the local area.He lived on his boat, which had been specially adapted for him, while attending parliament.
Then, after Bunnahown and the Mountain river, the river runs into open country and sunny Ballinagrane. The river is marked off in weirs and locks and the cut stone of the locks tells you that the granite mountain, Mt. Leinster, isn’t far away.
The woods follow on your left all the way from Clashganny to the double lock at Ballykeenan to Graignamanagh with its wonderfully restored 13th Cistercian Abbey of Duiske. You can still see the fleur de lys tiles of the original Abbey revealed below the present floor. The Romanesque processional doorway in the sacristy is one of the very finest examples of its kind.
The walk to St. Mullins has been called by environmentalist and filmmaker, Dick Warner, ‘the most beautiful riverside walk in these islands’. Passing Tinnehinch Castle, you plunge into a deep river valley with deciduous woods on either side reflected in the water- beautiful in spring and summer and glorious in the autumn. As you pass Carrigleade, you are leaving Brandon Hill behind you and soon you’re at the Dutch style lockhouse in St. Mullins. It’s another mile down the hard surface track to the village of St. Mullins but well worth the walk for great coffee and snacks in Martin O’Brien’s Muilleachan Cafe which is usually open from March to the end of October. There’s a wealth of history here so take a look at the Norman motte and bailey and the ruins of at least three ancient churches in the graveyard as well as the remains of a round tower.
This walk is all on the level so it’s easy for people of all ages and you can’t get lost! Wear comfortable shoes-your walking boots are best. Bring your swimming things - the best places are Clashganny , and Graig where there are lifeguards in high summer. The whole walk from Ballytiglea to St. Mullins will take you four to five hours, but you can break it up. It will take you an hour and a half to Clashganny where you can be picked up in the car park. From Clashganny to Graig is an hour and a bit. From Graig to St. Mullins is an hour and a half. You can get local taxis back to your car. Bicycles can be hired from the Waterside Guesthouse in Graig.; canoe trips organised with Charlie Horan’s company, ‘Go with the Flow’.
This place speaks to you, body and soul. It brings you nearer to nature, nearer to yourself. You’ll come back here. I can guarantee you that. You’ll come back again and again.
The recent flooding which has devastated so many communities around the country was record breaking for many reasons. The flooding came at the end of the warmest year globally on record. A very strong El Nino super charged by climate change has pummelled Ireland with six storms resulting in an entire winter's worth of rainfall falling during December alone.These conditions are unprecedented with many weather stations around the country recording their highest levels of rainfall on record according to Met Eireann.
Even with a reprieve in storms Ireland’s swollen rivers and flooded towns and countryside will continue to receive normal levels of winter rainfall. These kinds of extreme flooding events are to be expected according to climate change scientists and indeed they will only increase in frequency in line with increasing global greenhouse gas emissions.
What steps should be taken to alleviate the problem?
A number of ‘self-styled’ experts are appearing on the media telling us how to control the flooding on the River Shannon. An Taisce is not claiming such expertise but the answer must be based on the entire Shannon Catchment and must allow for the fact that climate change will increase the problems over coming years. The best answers will come from the Shannon CFRAM (Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study) being undertaken by the OPW although as yet climate risk is not included.
The CFRAM assessment treats the Shannon on a River Basin basis and will ‘Identify measures and options for managing flood risks, both in local high-risk areas and across the whole study area’.
Today’s Press Release from the European Commission explains the actual wording of Nature Directives and Natura Sites, and the limited usefulness of of dredging. It states:
" EU Nature Directives (Birds and Habitats) do not prevent measures being taken to protect lives and property. In particular they provide for situations of 'over-riding public interest' to permit activities that might damage a Natura 2000 site but which are necessary for human welfare. The Directives do however require an assessment of the options available before a conclusion is reached that such damage is unavoidable.
Dredging is not always the solution for flooding. It may help to sort out a local problem but it may also transport the problem downstream, sometimes from rural to urban areas where the damage on properties and economic activities can be much higher. Therefore the basin-wide approach included in EU policies is essential to find effective and long-term solutions."
An Taisce first called for a single authority for the Shannon river basin over 30 years ago, it is the basic step required for coherent flood management and now, with climate change, it is even more urgently required. Any Task Force or Single Authority that is formed must also allow for proper Public Participation in the form of Social, Community and Environmental groups.
One of the first reports of the Shannon CFRAMs is a Jacobs report hat summarises the current knowledge and references the many previous reports.
The important points of those reports are:
We need to slow down the speed with which water is moving into the Shannon and that will require change on a landscape/catchment basis. The drainage of our bogs and wetlands by Bord na Mona and through the arterial drainage scheme and various forestry programmes over the preceding decades have unquestionably exacerbated this winter’s floods.
The restoration of dredged and canalised tributaries can help to slow down flood waters and reduce the Impact of flooding by reducing peak flows within the main river.
Natural flood plains will need to be restored. Agri-environment schemes may need to be tailored to help farmers reduce surface run-off by blocking drains, planting native woodlands and reducing over grazing and burning in our uplands.
We will also need to improve the accuracy with which we can predict the approach of storms and pre-emptively increase flow through Ardnacrusha and Parteen Weir ahead of their arrival.
Apparently simple quick-fix flood protection measures such as dredging and 'hard engineering often have short-lived usefulness or unintended negative consequences . As communities in the UK are finding out, 'soft engineering', working with nature is often far more effective and, in the long-run, far less costly
IWT Press Release: Time to find solutions to extreme flooding and stop obsessing on EU nature laws
The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) is calling on politicians to find effective solutions to the problem of extreme flooding. With climate change likely to increase the frequency and intensity of these events it is more important than ever that we find long-term, cost effective solutions that allow us to adapt. Such solutions can be found in nature, particularly through the restoration of wetlands, bogs and native woodlands. Dredging of rivers is not a solution to extreme flooding even if it were practical along the River Shannon.
IWT Campaigns Officer Pádraic Fogarty says, “certain politicians and farming leaders are obsessing on the EU’s Habitats Directive and for some reason are fixated on river dredging. The problems we have today are exacerbated by the historic drainage of river catchments, infilling of wetlands and removal of bogs from the landscape. It is more than ironic that these are the same people who want to do nothing to halt the march of greenhouse gases from the agribusiness sector. It's time we found real solutions to this problem that work with nature and not against it.”
PROPERTY developer Paddy McKillen has bought a portion of the Booterstown Marsh site.
McKillen bought the 4.86 acre site for a repported €1m last weekend.
The site was originally owned by the property developer Bernard McNamara and sold for €6m at the height of the boom. He had proposed building an apartment complex on the land.
“It’s private property, so he is entitled to buy what he likes,” said Cllr Barry Ward (FG). “There isn’t any development potential in it. I think he’ll have terrible trouble getting planning permission.”
According to Cllr Ward, current protections in place could limit the development of the site and anything seen to interfere with the nearby bird sanctuary.
“I don’t understand how he’s going to make that million euro.”
Last week, preliminary clearing works were carried out on the site by a construction contractor, McHale, but it is unclear if this was linked to McKillen’s ownership of the land.
The works included clearing the land of Japanese knotweed, a common weed, and the erection of construction barriers around the site.
“They had no management plan, no barriers up to prevent any of the material from escaping,” said Rebecca Jeffares, a member of An Taisce, the national preservation body.
“There was no notice given to anybody, to adjoining land owners, to the National Parks and Wildlife Service; it’s a very carefree attitude.”
The McKillen deal was made official on Sunday, just a day after the work was said to be halted.
An Taisce, who oversee the nearby bird sanctuary, has raised issues pertaining to the conservation status of the site and the lack of a clear management plan by the contractor.
“It’s just in an area that is surrounded by areas of special conservation and special protection for birds, and they are all protected under the EU [regulations].
“What they did would have needed permission because they didn’t have licences,” said Jeffares.
The Booterstown site is split into two areas, both within the jurisdiction of Dublin City Council and outside it.
According to An Taisce, the Dublin City side has no conservation status designation, other than Nutley Stream, which is located near the land.
“I’m very surprised [about the land purchase] because I’m not sure what he wants to do there,” said Cllr Victor Boyhan (Ind).
“I would be against any development, I’d campaign against any commercial development on the site. There’s very little more that we can do at this point.”
Cllr Boyhan said McKillian has no permission to clear the land due to the lack of an appropriate licence.
The selling agent for the sale of the site was Frank McKnight Auctioneers and Real Estate Agents
2016 has begun and so has my big year. I am getting married, but also I am doing the @patchbirding challenge this year. The importance of being earnest!
3km2 of land, marsh and bay scanning started yesterday with some 18 wonderful species.
black headed gull
black tailed godwit
Unfortunatley, the camera was still on Christmas holidays, but the new Optima scope that Santa brought is a revelation for identification and observing the beauty of birds.
A recent tip from clues to outdoor signs puts heavy reliance on the light and identifying the grey or green legs of a greenshank in winter plumage opened up the wonder of twitching detail delight.
2016 is going to be a big year!
Here are a few New Year resolutions for you to consider. You can pick and choose or ignore them altogether!
Be proud of the fact that you love wildlife – it’s everyone else who is odd – and talk to people on buses, in queues, in the pub etc about wildlife. YOU can be a recruiter of more wildlife enthusiasts.
Get informed about the issues about which you care – pick one or two to start with – and make up your own mind about things. Nature conservation isn’t straightforward and your approach to it depends on your core values.
Speak out, use social media, go on a march or demonstration – become an agent for change.
Support the wildlife NGOs – donate and give to a cause YOU believe in.
Get involved with a wildlife network YOU care about. People are the agents of change. I recently joined the IWT Dublin Branch Comittee
Take Mark Boyle's advice. Wildlife is a victim of violence and persecution due to intensification of farming demands. YOU have power.
if you read one book this year read Mark Boyle's Drinking Molatov Cocktails with Ghandi.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Write to your TD once a month to keep her/him on their toes
Happy New Year, Wild Ones!
Do something different this year. Accept the mundane. Sit with sadness. Go outside even though it’s cold. Look the cashier in the eye and smile – for real. Notice the flash of a bird’s wings in flight – and notice how it sounds flying overhead. Put the television in the basement closet. Leave your phone at home. Grow some veg
Desmond Tutu summed it well when he said, 'Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good together that overwhelm the world.'"
What are you going to do differently this year?
Get out and enjoy wildlife! I'm doing a big year this year!
Credit to Mark Avery for the bones of the list
IWT PRESS RELEASE In response to the news this morning that Minister Heather Humphreys is to extend the season for burning and hedge cutting into the bird breeding season we have just issued this Press Release: Press Release: Nature and landscape loses
via Irish Wildlife http://ift.tt/1NiJJhw
In response to the news this morning that Minister Heather Humphreys is to extend the season for burning and hedge cutting into the bird breeding season, we have just issued this Press Release:
Press Release: Nature and landscape loses out again as Minister Heather Humpreys announces extension of burning and hedge-cutting season
The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) is disappointed but not surprised at the announcement today that Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, has extended the season into which land owners can burn vegetation or cut hedges. Once again we note that the greater good of protecting nature and our landscape will take a hit in favour of appeasing the large farming organisations. The reality is that these measures will change nothing on the ground except perhaps to legitimise further degradation of the countryside – something which has been on-going for some time now. Based on no scientific evidence, and only the demands of vocal lobby groups, burning of vegetation will be allowed through the month of March when many birds and other animals are nesting.
IWT Campaigns Officer Pádraic Fogarty says “time and again we see the grip that vested interests have on decision making that affects the wider good. Since coming to office Minister Humphreys has shown no interest or knowledge of the natural environment which is a part of her brief. The sad thing is that much of the damage has already been done and this decision will simple perpetuate the downward trajectory of nature and landscape in Ireland. It makes a mockery of claims that Ireland is a so-called ‘world leader’ in sustainable food production.”
IWT Press Release: Decline of the Irish Sea continues as Fishing Quotas set beyond scientific advice The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) is concerned at the continuing decline of the marine environment in the Irish Sea following the European Commissions Cou
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IWT Press Release: Decline of the Irish Sea continues as Fishing Quotas set beyond scientific advice
The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) is concerned at the continuing decline of the marine environment in the Irish Sea following the European Commission’s Council meeting earlier this week. Since 2004 scientists have advised that no fishing for cod or whiting should be carried but this has been routinely ignored. In 2007 this advice was issued for sole and yet quotas continue to be granted. Cod stocks in the Irish Sea have declined 10-fold since the 1980s, according to the Marine Institute. The new Common Fisheries Policy, which came into effect in 2014, committed the EU to sustainable fishing and rebuilding fish stocks. While some progress has been made there has been little change in the management of the Irish Sea. This sea has gone from a mixed fishery with abundant catches, to virtually a single-species (Dublin Bay prawn) and evidence even here suggests it is being overfished.
IWT Campaign Officer Pádraic Fogarty says “Despite all the talk it is business as usual for the Irish Sea and there’s to be no political will to restore it to its previous wealth. The ecosystem is on course to be so damaged that we could be looking at a sea full of jellyfish and little else in the not too distant future.”
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am a wildlife photographer based in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, who has an
affinity for Ireland's landscape and wildlife. The magic of Ireland is
truly evoked in the marriage of landscape and light.
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