Written Answers. - Departmental Studies.

Nora Owen


844 Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands if she will have arrangements made to have a study carried out into the spread of the giant hogweed, heracleum mantegazzianum; the action taken against this weed if it appears in the national parks and riversides; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20141/00]

The giant hogweed is an introduced species and not protected under the Wildlife Act, 1976. I am not aware that it is occurring in any of our national parks. There is no statutory provision, either under animal health or nature conservation legislation for enforcing the control of species such as this unless they are hazardous to livestock, which this is not.

I am aware that the Central Fisheries Board has taken an interest in the species because it is hazardous to anglers and they have been taking control measures for a number of years. Our conservation rangers are monitoring its presence in areas where it might become a nature conservation concern. As it is not protected and does not pose a threat to other protected species, I have no plans to have a study carried out into the spread of the giant hogweed.