Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht): Statements
Josepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
Deputy Ó Snodaigh mentioned our national cultural institutions. They have done a huge amount of work online and I am well aware of the challenges they face. I thank the Deputy for also mentioning rural and regional museums. We are working very closely with the Irish Museums Association and the directors of the Council of National Cultural Institutions on a plan of action. For the national cultural institutions, reopening obviously poses a series of different challenges, particularly for the theatre sector, which the Deputy also mentioned. We are doing everything we can to assist with that.
I congratulate Deputy Clark on her election. Regarding wood pigeons, she is probably aware that I am allowed to make annual derogations under the birds directive allowing for the capturing and killing of some listed species for air safety and where there is a threat to public health or risk of serious damage to crops.
Scientific advice was given to me by my officials who propose removing the wood pigeon as they suggested there is limited evidence to suggest that they do, in fact, cause serious damage to crops over the summer. However, serious concerns have been raised by Deputies and other stakeholders with me about the exclusion of the wood pigeon because of damage to crop yields and some of the other reasons mentioned. That includes damage to crops that make it difficult to harvest. There is also contamination which makes it particularly difficult for tillage farmers. As a result, the status quo is being reinstated for the wood pigeon this year. Lethal means will be permitted by land owners in June, July and August to prevent crop damage. The Deputy also mentioned section 42 licences. An expected surge of those was going to come to my Department and we would not have capacity to deal with a deluge of licences during the Covid-19 crisis. The Deputy might have mentioned the grey partridge.