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Irish wildlife must be protected - Mary Lou McDonald

9 November, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has this morning reacted to a report which revealed that 31% of Ireland's bird species were under threat and in decline. Ms McDonald said that the government had to "take responsibility for the protection and conservation of Irish wildlife".

The "Birds in Europe" and "Birds in the European Union" studies were carried out by BirdLife International and show that 31% or 47 species of bird are in decline due to global warming, intensive farming and land development.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"The studies carried out by BirdLife International should act as a wake up call to all of us concerned with the protection of Irish wildlife, particularly our diverse population of birds. It is of particular concern that 31% of Irish birds are under serious threat, and if current trends continue many species could become extinct.

"The most infuriating aspect of all of this is the fact that our actions are directly responsible for the decline in Irish bird numbers. Global warming, intensive farming, land development and the stripping of hedgerows throughout the countryside are factors for the decline.

"Global warming is a particularly worrying development and this government needs to be at the forefront of efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions. However, this government has failed miserably. The government stands accused of neglecting their responsibilities under EU law in regards to implementing EU environment legislation on time. A survey looking at environmental law in 2003 found that throughout the old 15 member states, there were 88 separate occasions when EU environment legislation was not implemented in national law within the specified time. Ireland was amongst the worst offenders.

"At an EU level a more focussed approach is required to effectively tackle global warming. A recent report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) warned that Europe is warming more quickly than the rest of the world.

"The protection of our environment and wildlife needs to be a priority for the whole society. If we fail, we risk contributing to the extinction of a number of bird species throughout Ireland." ENDS

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