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Wildlife Conservation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 11 May 2022

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Questions (224)

Holly Cairns


224. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice if her Department, and the public bodies and agencies that operate under her remit, have policies in place to install artificial structures that provide shelter and habitat space for wild species such as, but not limited to, insect hotels, bat boxes, nesting towers and beehives; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23860/22]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department is committed to fostering biodiversity and currently is in the process of providing for beehives on one of its Dublin buildings while the offices in Killarney have set aside a large area of managed wild garden to provide habitats for insects, butterflies and birds. The progress of this will be kept under review and the next logical extension is to develop appropriate shelters as referenced by the Deputy.

In terms of agencies, the Courts Service has a nationwide footprint and published its first Environmental Sustainability Strategy last November. I understand the goal over the next three years is to manage the courts estate in a way that supports biodiversity and is pollinator friendly.

The five actions listed to realise that goal are:

Action 4.1: Partner with external biodiversity initiatives including the National Pollinator Plan and other biodiversity networks;

Action 4.2: Introduce pilot rewilding initiatives and review;

Action 4.3: Map all green areas within the Courts Estate to identify rewilding opportunities;

Action 4.4: Complete colleague and public perceptions survey of pilot rewilding initiatives; and

Action 4.5: Develop a project pipeline of biodiversity initiatives throughout our estate.

Further details on these actions can be found in the Environmental Sustainability Strategy published on the courts website.

Based on the output from a pilot project, venue mapping and surveys, a multi-year project pipeline will be developed. The aim is to introduce one or more biodiversity initiatives in 80% of all suitable venues within five years.

Current projects include:

Insect hotels installed in Carrick-on-Shannon Courthouse in County Leitrim and Nenagh Courthouse in County Tipperary;

Swift nesting boxes in Mullingar Courthouse and Ennis Courthouse;

An attic bat room in Mullingar Courthouse, and Kilrush Courthouse in Co. Clare; and

Pollinator-friendly rewilding pilot projects have been established at Courthouses in Carrick-on-Shannon Courthouse, Roscommon and Anglesea Street in Co. Cork.

I can assure the Deputy that my Department will continue to encourage such projects across the agencies in the sector.