Joined: 03 Feb 2006
28.11.11, 10.13am butterfly conservation Ireland publish letter in Irish Times
Taken from the Butterfly conservation Ireland website
The Irish Times published a letter from Butterfly Conservation Ireland on Thursday 17th November. A similar letter was sent to Minister Deenihan. The letter published by The Irish Times is reproduced in full here.
Sir,-The plan by Ministers Phil Hogan and Jimmy Deenihan to protect 130 raised bogs designated as Special Areas of Conservation [SACs] or Natural Heritage Areas [NHAs] under the European Union Habitats’ Directive by staggering the cessation of cutting over the next two years and compensating the cutters is unconvincing.
The moratorium on recruitment to the public service coupled with early retirements in February means that many bogs will lack coverage by National Parks & Wildlife Rangers. This means that some of the estimated 20,000 turf cutters currently active on the 130 sites will be able to continue to damage the sites, break the law and incur the risk of punitive fines being levied against Ireland by the EU. Six of the sites where cutting was supposed to have ceased in 2009 were cut by contractors since then. The delay and prevarication on the state’s part dates back to 1999 when 10 year derogation on the cessation of turf cutting was granted by Síle de Valera in a move regarded as illegal by the EU.
Could it be that the present government intends to allow cutting [a pre-election pledge by Fine Gael] to degrade sites to the point where they are no longer conservation-worthy and will be de-listed as SACs and NHAs? Our most distinctive habitat will be lost and so will the wildlife that relies on the habitat.This includes the Curlew, a recently abundant bird that faces imminent oblivion due to bog destruction.
Of the larger Irish moths at least 218 species feed on plants that occur on bogs. Some of our most endangered butterflies depend on bogland environments. Huge biodiversity loss looms unless we truly value our wonderful, evocative and historic boglands.
I call on everyone who loves our countryside to report illegal turf cutting to the National Parks and Wildlife Service and to the European Commissioner reponsible for the Environment.
Butterfly Conservation Ireland,
Illegal cutting can be reported directly to Europe by Email to Joseph Hennon at firstname.lastname@example.org
On a related matter, Andrew Jackson and a colleague, on behalf of Friends of the Irish Environment, will be presenting a complaint regarding illegal peat extraction to the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday 22nd November. The EU Commissioner for the Environment will attend the hearing-a move that is highly unusual, possibly unprecedented. As a conservation body dedicated to protecting the habitats of butterflies and moths Butterfly Conservation Ireland wants to see our peatlands receive the protection these special areas are legally entitled to.