Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (23)

Maureen O'Sullivan


23. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason behind the National Parks and Wildlife Service's licensing unit granting licences to kill the pine marten; the reason non-lethal options, such as the trap and release of the animal, are not available in view of the fact that the pine marten is a protected species and Ireland's rarest mammal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17993/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

The pine marten is protected in Ireland by both national and EU legislation. Under the Irish Wildlife Acts it is an offence, except under licence, to capture or kill a pine marten, or to destroy or disturb its resting places. Once rare, the species has spread widely in Ireland in the past 30 years. Only one licence has been granted in recent years to allow the killing of one pine marten. In this particular instance, the licensee demonstrated that there was an on-going persistent problem that had not been solved by live capture and removal. There was also a public health concern as the affected premises housed a food wholesaler.

I recognise the need for practical advice and guidelines for dealing with pine marten in a manner that is consistent with conservation goals. As they have become more widespread, they can take up residence in places where they are not welcome to humans.

Last autumn, the Vincent Wildlife Trust and my Department collaborated on the development and publication of a leaflet which provides advice on how to keep pine martens out of game and poultry pens. Both organisations are again working together, this time to develop an information leaflet that will provide practical guidance for individuals to help them to prevent pine martens from taking up residence in their houses. This leaflet will be published in the coming months.