Of politicians and ditches

Studying an environmental science isn’t easy, we spend years studying to get a grasp of complex systems so to expect anyone to just understand in a 5 minute conversation is quite unfair. This post is a remark upon the irrational manner in which local councilors have reacted to the allowing hedges to grow in summer, allowing among others, birds to nest.

We know when political figures think they can gain a vote or two, logic and reason take flight only to be replaced by ridiculous arguments and to be honest, they are not usually eloquent.

The Anglo-Celt reports that Cavan County Council attacked The National Wildlife Service over the dates which hedgerows may be cut.

Under section 40 of the 1976 Wildlife Act, as amended by Section 46 of the Wildlife Amendment Act, 2000, it is forbidden to cut or remove hedgerows or destroy other vegetation during the bird nesting season, from the 1st of March to the 31st of August each year.

Cllr. Danny Brady (FF) (no relation) has stated that most farmers comply with the rules when it comes to hedge and verge cutting. However, there were some who didn’t comply and should expect a visit for The National Wildlife Service. Though Cllr. Brady doesn’t appear to agree, it would seem from the Anglo-Celts article that Cllr. Brady does not care these people broke the law.  Is anarchy this Finna Fáil members approach to society?

Brady does state the danger of over grown hedges, which of course is very real and being from rural Cavan, I know them only too well. Which was a more sensible argument than Cllr. Shane P. O’Reilly (FF) made it comes down to what’s was more important – the life of a swallow or the life of a human. Which is basically a false dichotomy, humans and swallows can co-exist quite peacefully I think you’ll agree.

The general departure from reason is where I take issue. It appears a pack mentality set in on the councillors over this topic, everyone knew about this problem, it’s a disgrace, it an attack on rural Ireland, it’s this and that but IT’S THE LAW! And has been for some time, amended ten years ago from a 35 year old wildlife act. Why is it only now that this issue is being raised?

This isn’t a recent problem; hedgerows have always grown out in the summer to be cut back in autumn, since I was a child anyway. The problem is the increase in traffic in rural areas, all the houses lining once beautiful countryside need entrances, but the councillors didn’t think of that when they were granting housing permissions left, right and centre, they didn’t think an increase in population will require an increase in spending to upgrade and maintain services. Which isn’t done.

We, living on an island have inherited a quite unique heritage of Flora and Fauna, in recent times more and more species populations have started to decline and of course there have been extinctions, but we now know the importance of small seemingly insignificant habitats, they are vital homes for hundreds of species. If the councillors cannot understand the importance of biodiversity, then should they really be standing for positions of power in a constituency that is heavily reliant on agriculture? And in what field exactly have these councillors been educated? Surely none have a biological or agricultural background. Why did they wait until September to raise this issue? The hedges are all nice and trim now.

Here’s a nice paper on hedgerows in Ireland by Notice Nature, if you fancy reading up. Perhaps some of the councilors will read it?

FYI, if you didn’t know already 2010 is the UN designated year of Biodiversity.

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