The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has secured convictions against two farmers for the destruction of hedgerows and woodland during bird-nesting season.
The separate cases were heard recently in Ballina District Court and Nenagh District Court.
They were taken under section 40 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, and the NPWS says that there a number of other, similar cases before the courts.
At a sitting of Ballina District Court, a Mayo farmer was fined €4,000, and received a 20% penalty to his farm payments, for the destruction of vegetation over an area of around 1.9 acres during bird-nesting season.
At Nenagh District Court, a Galway farmer was convicted and fined €3,000 for destroying 755 metres of hedgerows, and 0.7 acres of scrub woodland, at a farm in County Tipperary.
Implications for bio-diversity
The NPWS says that it has noted an increase in the number of reports of the complete removal of hedgerows and vegetation on lands not cultivated during the statutory bird-nesting season.
The body adds that it is committed to “investigating fully” where this is happening, due to the implications for nesting birds and bio-diversity.
Malcolm Noonan (Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform) welcomed the convictions, and the comments of the judges in the cases.
In Nenagh District Court, Judge Elizabeth McGrath said that section 40 was not a bureaucratic law, and that it existed to protect birds and their habitat.