Seanad debates

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Emer Currie (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Families and people woke up to the news today that Dublin Zoo faces an uncertain future. This is sad but understandable in the circumstances. The zoo is a magical place for children. While it is important for domestic and international tourism and it is a major employer, it is part of the fabric of family life, particularly where I live in Dublin 15.

Many families have annual passes and the recurring visits are like markers in the development of a child. They come back and notices how much their child has grown and changed and how much the animals have grown and things in the zoo have changed. It is educational and teaches children about animal conservation and welfare.

It is important to say it is not the fault of the zoo. It had emergency cash reserves but those are gone. It has not had statutory funding from the Government in 15 years and it is not-for-profit. As it said, one cannot furlough an elephant. This is an always-on business. It is, however, also home to more than 400 animals that cost €500,000 per month to feed and it is a home that costs €1 million per month to run. We have stepped up to help homes all around the country. We should step up to help this home. It should not be any different.

I call on the Government today to intervene and support Dublin Zoo at this moment.

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