Review group needed on hen harrier issue

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Pictured at a meeting held in Dublin last Wednesday night in relation to the hen harrier designation issue are (left to right):  Patrick O’Donovan TD, Michael Creed TD, Paul Connaughton TD , Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Noel Coonan TD, Tom Hayes TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Pictured at a meeting held in Dublin last Wednesday night in relation to the hen harrier designation issue are (left to right): Patrick O’Donovan TD, Michael Creed TD, Paul Connaughton TD , Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Noel Coonan TD, Tom Hayes TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The need for a review group to be established to review the environmental restrictions on hen harrier SPA areas was highlighted this week by East Galway TD Paul Connaughton.
Deputy Connaughton was one of four Fine Gael TDs that met with the relevant Ministers. The meeting between Deputies Paul Connaughton (East Galway), Patrick O’Donovan (Limerick), Noel Coonan (Tipperary North) and Michael Creed (Cork North West) and Paul Connaughton and Ministers Simon Coveney, Tom Hayes and Heather Humphreys took place in Dublin on Wednesday night last.
‘It’s clear that action is needed in terms of the hen harrier designation. I have experienced a lot of frustration and anger from farmers in counties Galway and Clare in relation to this issue. Farmers are frustrated that they are unable to work their land because of the designation. Last Wednesday night’s meeting was about looking for a solution to this problem.
At the meeting, TDs representing Connacht and Munster highlighted the need for the relevant Ministers to come up with a plan. The majority of farmers who have contacted me are farmers wishing to plant their land but who are prevented from doing so because of this designation. These farmers have also encountered great difficulty in terms of dealing with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and I believe that it is only through the setting up of a review group that we can see real progress on this issue.
‘We stressed to the three Ministers the need for farmers to be allowed to use their land and the need for a practical and workable solution to this issue.’