FIE Work

As the European Commission begins infringement proceedings against Ireland for failing to complete the designation requirements for its Special Areas of Conservation, it proposes to close another investigation into the protection of the fresh water pearl mussel on the basis of commitments given by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Coillte Teo., the State Forestry Board.

 

 The new  proceedings allege that Ireland has failed to complete the national legal protective regime for 400 of the SACs State’s within 6 years of their selection and for failing to set detailed site specific objectives for 300 of the sites.

 

 Ireland’s new commitment to protect the fresh water pearl mussel are based on extensive investigations into examples provided by FIE 2013 – 2015,  included forestry operations by Coillte Teo on the Glaskeen River in County Donegal, Mayo County Council’s repair of a bridge at Delphi on the Bundoragh River, the proposed N59 Maam Cross to Oughterard Road in Connemara, and felling along the river Lickey in Co. Waterford.

 

Coillte halted 28 felling operations during the investigation. No licences will be issued in the eight priority catchments for the mussel until Catchment Forestry Management Plans have been completed, including a structured programme of consultation, including the general public.

 

 Read the full Press Release   |   Read the Commission’s letter

The Department of Agriculture has informed FIE that all forestry felling work is being halted at Castleforbes Estate, County Longford until the end of the season protecting birds and wildlife on 1 September, 2016.

  

See our Press Release!

FIE’s intervention over felling in an ancient woodland in County Longford has led to the suspension of felling – but for how long?

 

While the Felling License issued for Castleforbes woodland last year had a condition preventing work during the bird nesting season from May to September, for some reason no conditions were put on the licences issued this year by the Forest Service. FIE has also seen photographs from last year of the stumps of huge ancient oaks and valuable ash trees removed in spite of the licence permitting only the removal of ‘poor quality stems’. This year’s licenses were limited to ‘non-native trees and shrubs’ while again FIE has photographs of mature native trees felled in a woodland first recorded in the 17th century. FIE was informed by the Forest Service that work was to recommence last week – but so far the contractors have not returned. We are doing our best to increase the pressure through public representatives and in a letter to the Minister.

 

 Read the Letter to the Minister   |   Read the Press Release

 

 

 

We publishing today disturbing photographs of dead nesting birds killed in recent weeks by the felling of trees at Castleforbes Estate, County Longford. The felling, which is taking place at the height of the bird nesting season, was licensed by the Forest Service without the restriction in last year’s licence to impose a closed period to protect birds and other wildlife between March 1 and August 31.The dead birds are a chaffinch and probably – its hard to tell when young - a ‘jinny robin’ or wren, the traditional ‘King of All Birds’. The destruction is continuing after a suspension of work took place for an investigation into FIE’s complaint.  According to the Forest Service, the work, part of a ten year plan, must be done now because it was ‘too wet’ after the closed period.

We have written to the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, TD, and the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Rural Affairs, and the Gaelteacta, Heather Humphries, TD pointing out that the Department is using ‘double standards’. Farmers are rightly required to go to considerable lengths to ensure they do not cut hedgerows during the closed period, even to incurring additional cost for machinery equipped to deal with wet land. Last month Judge Seamus Hughes of the Longford District Court  fined two men €250 for destroying vegetation during the closed season.

 And yet the wildlife is being disseminated in and around these protected woodlands, first recorded in the 17th century at the very time farmers would be prosecuted.

These double standards are bound to cause resentment among farmers who are being fined in the Courts for felling hedgerows while they see heritage woodlands being cut at the peak of the nesting season.

 It is particularly ironic that the death of these nesting birds is taking place while the nation celebrated the ‘dawn chorus’, an event that showcases the great diversity of Ireland’s birdlife.

 Read the Press Release with links   |    Photos   |   Letter Agriculture  |   Letter Heritage

 

 

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FIE has launched a campaign to STOP TRUMPS IRISH WALL! The developer and US Presidential candidate bought the sea side golf course and hotel at Doonbeg County Clare in 2012 and is now claiming that ‘the asset and business is in a state of emergency’ after a series of storms led to five holes being out of service, ‘rending the course unplayable and inoperable’.

 He has now applied for planning permission for a 3 km hard coastal defence of quarried limestone rocks up to 5 meters above beach level and 15 metres wide to protect the course from falling into the sea.

An attempt to bring in quarried blocks of rock to protect the dunes without permission was halted by a Enforcement Order from the local authority in April 2014.

Friends of the Irish Environment, who went to the High Court in 2000 to ensure protection for the dunes and a tiny snail it hosts, claim that the proposed wall will ‘kill the dune system’. According to the group, the legally binding Conservation Objectives for the EU protected nature conservation site published in 2014 prohibit ‘any construction on the dune system’.

FIE has also lodged complaints with the local authority and the National Parks and Wildlife Service after the Irish national television service’s RTE ‘Prime Time Investigates’, recorded an unauthorised dump exposed by the eroding dunes. The group has provided photographs showing what appears to be a covering up of the dump since ‘Prime Time’ filmed it and asked the management about it.

They have also published documents showing that the National Parks and Wildlife Service originally opposed the building of the course but in spite of scientific evidence in the end allowed it to proceed.

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