EDITOR –I see that eco-protesters outside the recent biodiversity conference in Dublin dubbed the event a ‘talking shop’ and accused the government of not doing enough to protect our precious flora and fauna.
I hate to say this but as a campaigner against bloodsports I wish that successive Irish governments had confined their handling of wildlife issues to a harmless if indefensible, ‘talking shop’.
Unfortunately, governments are made up of politicians who in turn are motivated more by where their votes are coming from, than by any concerns about the conservationist or welfare status of birds, bees or assorted furry critters.
The late Tommy Makem sung that ‘all God’s creatures have a place in the choir’. They might well have, but they don’t appear to have a place in the hearts of cynical, vote-conscious TDs or senators intent on winning seats.
I have attended coursing fixtures to keep tabs on what is happening to an ostensibly protected mammal, the Irish hare, a sub-species of the mountain hare that is unique to Ireland. It has been in decline for the past half century, mainly due to habitat loss resulting from urbanisation and the unintended effects of modern agriculture, and for the past three years has been under additional pressure from the arrival of the deadly RHD2 virus in the countryside.
This highly transmissible disease is fatal to hares and rabbits and can be spread by the use of nets to capture hares for coursing and their subsequent confinement in paddocks or compounds.
But these challenges to an iconic species which has been on this island since at least the last Ice Age of 10,000 years ago and may have been around for over 60,000 years before that; seemingly mean nothing to the string of governments that have presided for decades over this democracy.
At the coursing events I attended, I have watched hares being hounded in all weathers: twisting, turning and dodging on muddy fields, in torrential rain, or wind storms, or with snow falling on the so-called sporting venues.
I have seen them being mauled, and flung skyward by the dogs as grown men laughed and marked their betting cards. I have listened to the child-like sobbing of hares that were struck forcibly in the chase or had their bones crushed.
I have campaigned, with others, for years against this obscenity, but still it continues. And I ask: Should anyone be surprised that a government that allows this treatment of a ‘protected species’ is less than committed to saving what remains of our biodiversity?
Avoiding the real truth
EDITOR – Once again, the honourable delegate for Rochestown, your contributor Mr Moriarty, has avoided the whole truth in assessing the use of barristers as prosecutors.
The crucial factor is that ‘the Government’ can only spend money it derives from us, the taxpayers, so is it going to be cost effective to use civil servants and lay down luxurious pension entitlements for the nation’s grandchildren to pay in the fullness of time?
Renovation work on fairy houses after article
EDITOR – Following your recent article on the fairy houses of Dromillihy Wood, there was an immediate and very welcome response with many broken houses and other debris removed.
I was more than pleasantly surprised and it certainly goes to show the effectiveness of local newspapers on local issues.
And a big thank you to everyone who took part in the clean-up, fairies and humans alike.
Flabbergasted by delay in getting pontoon
EDITOR – I AM really flabbergasted at the delay in getting the pontoon sorted in Barleycove.
Sure it’s a safety issue if it encourages people to take chances with the tide?
And if, as reported in a recent Southern Star, the road to the Mizen Head Visitor Centre becomes clogged up with traffic attempting to access the beach from that end, then is it not another safety issue?
Between this and the fiasco over the Dursey island ferry which, apparently, has not yet been resolved to the satisfaction of the residents, one would wonder if Cork County Council has a tourism element to its strategy for West Cork at all?
I cannot imagine either situation being allowed to continue if the beach was near our ‘other’ capital city – Dublin – or the island was off the east coast.
There is certainly an element here of the phrase ‘No one shouted stop’ immortalised by that great Mayo man, John Healy, in his book on the slow death of the small town.