Thursday, 9 May 2019

Questions (173)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

173. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the degree to which conservation measures continue in respect of grouse, pheasant, partridge and woodcock; the degree to which their natural habitat remains protected; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20304/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

The conservation of red grouse has been approached with some success on a collaborative basis by hunters, bird conservationists and my Department over a number of years. The principal need is to ensure good habitat for the species and work has been carried out particularly by game club members and grouse enthusiasts on many bog areas, such as Boleybrack Mountain, Glenfarne and Ballydangan. Sustainable grazing regimes in commonage lands is being supported through Commonage Management Plans in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s GLAS scheme, which in turn should favour red grouse.

The pheasant is an introduced species and is managed mainly by gun clubs around the country.

The grey partridge was on the verge of extinction but a project continues on lands owned by my Department at Boora in County Offaly to provide good habitat, and associated predator control, in order to protect and enhance the population. This project in turn has supplied birds to projects in Fingal and Co Donegal. The GLAS scheme includes a measure for grey partridge in targeted lands in Boora, Fingal and Co. Donegal. The partridge remains at low population levels however.

Woodcock is a breeding species but numbers are greatly increased by winter migrants. The sale of woodcock was banned some years ago by my Department on foot of recommendations by the hunting associations to assist in their conservation.