Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 5 July 2017
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
Preserving Ireland's Natural Heritage: Discussion
I have a couple of other things to address. We will protect the hen harriers but why has Government refused to compensate the farmers? We often hear of burglaries of houses when people are out of their houses but what is the story when the farm is taken from them completely and they are robbed in cold daylight? They are getting no compensation. They will not be allowed plant forestry in it. They will not be allowed to turn the ground. They will not be allowed to do anything with it. This Government and the previous one have stood up and refused to give proper compensation to these people. It is totally wrong. I believe An Taisce is supporting this project of keeping farms for the hen harrier. It is fine to protect the hen harrier but we must protect people and their incomes first. It is wrong to take their farm away from them as has been done. I am all for the curlew and the ground nesting birds but An Taisce fails to realise the other issues. There is an idea abroad that we cannot shoot foxes at night. Do the witnesses know that foxes kill the birds? They kill the ground nesting birds. It is a direct attempt to stop people getting proper income from the farm which they deserve after farming it. Farmers cannot shoot foxes at night. The foxes are not so foolish that they will come around in the middle of the day and say, "I am here now, you can shoot me now". It is absolutely ridiculous. There are a lot of other vermin out there. If An Taisce went after those like it went after the foxes, people might appreciate what it is at more. We cannot touch a badger. At the same time, farms are wiped out. Herds are cleaned out when farms are infected with TB. Herds of cows are loaded into lorries and taken off to factories and men who have given all their lives trying to build the farms up are driven down to the ground.