Kelly & O’Donovan take hen harrier landowners issue to Brussels

Irish MEP Sean Kelly and Limerick TD Patrick O’Donovan will meet European Commission officials in Brussels over the impact of EU hen harrier conservation rules on Limerick landowners, on Friday (December 5).

Kelly and O’Donovan will brief Commission officials how farmers and landowners based in Limerick and its surrounds have encountered serious difficulties in carrying out agricultural work on their land due to the European Union’s Birds Directive which offers conservation protection through the Hen Harrier Special Protection Areas Designation.

“The hen harrier designation was introduced to halt the declining population of hen harriers, which are mostly found in Counties Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Tipperary and Laois. However, many farmers have been adversely impacted by this designation.

“Farming in these areas is the family income which many families are dependent on, so it is of the utmost importance that these concerns are heard at EU level, where the conservation rules are drawn up,” Mr Kelly said.

On Friday, MEP Kelly and Deputy O’Donovan will raise these concerns with Commission officials who specialise the areas of agriculture and the environment.

“It is important that Commission officials are aware of the reality on the ground for farmers and those affected. A more comprehensive level of engagement is needed on such issues to ensure that local concerns are taken on board, so that natural habitats can be protected without unnecessarily hindering or damaging people’s livelihoods,“ Deputy O’Donovan said.

Councillors Liam Galvin and John Sheehan will also attend the meeting on Friday.

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