Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
55. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will suspend the hare coursing season due to the increased number of reported cases of highly-pathogenic avian influenza H5N1; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46159/22]
56. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will consider a suspension of the open hunting season on wild birds in light of the spread of highly-pathogenic avian influenza; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46189/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 56 together.
I am deeply concerned about the impact that Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) may have on our wild seabird populations. My Department officials are in regular contact with colleagues in the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine (DAFM) in relation to the spread of HPAI and they are keeping the situation under very close review. The DAFM has responsibility for avian influenza testing in Ireland. The National Parks and Wildlife Service has also been liaising with counterparts in the UK, and has been briefed on outbreaks there and measures being implemented. Should the situation deteriorate, then my Department will review all possible options to mitigate that with the experts in the DAFM.
There is no evidence of a link between hares and the spread of HPAI.