FIE Work

FIE is calling on the Cork Association for Autism to amend their planned balloon release this Sunday and ‘keep it on a string’. The practice of releasing balloons was ‘an act of littering’ that only continued because people were unaware of the consequences. ‘If the public knew how hazardous balloons are to the environment they would never allow it’, FIE Director Tony Lowes said.


The group has protested balloon launches before. The balloon release planned for the January 2013 opening of the Irish EU Presidency was re-arranged at the last minute after FIE’s protest to include a ‘Secure Balloon Release’, and not a ‘general balloon release.’


‘All of the balloons for the ceremony’, Tony Lowes explained, ‘had extra-long string attached. The balloons were then released from chest height and let go to the maximum of the string length for the launch itself. After the EU ceremony, children were able to take the balloons home with them as a memento of the day.’


FIE first tried to prevent President Mary McAleese partaking in a memorial balloon release in 2005. At the time Environment Minister Dick Roche refused to prohibit mass balloon releases. In 2009 the prestigious Dublin’s Mount Anville school cancelled a planned balloon release after FIE issued a public call. In July 2012 Birdwatch Ireland and three other wildlife and marine groups issued a call to Ban Balloon Releases.


Request letter


UK Marine Conservation Society Pollution Policy and Position Statement, 2014

Birdwatch Ireland (and others) July 2012 call for Ban



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!

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

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