No assessment of impact of Asian Clam on Lough Ree – Naughten

In East-Roscommon, Tourism by Denis Naughten

asian-clam-500 (1)Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys TD has admitted to the Dáil that her Department has not performed an assessment on the impact of the Asian Clam infestation on Lough Ree, even though its habitat is protected under EU Law.

The Minister was responding to local TD Denis Naughten who described the response as “very surprising” considering the Department is happy to have its officials, aeroplanes and Gardai tied up monitoring those who are cutting turf.

“Again we have a situation where Government is quick to act when it is taking something away from rural communities but slow when it could be of direct benefit to a local area,” stated Denis Naughten.

“Not only is this Asian Clam having a direct impact on the habitat of Lough Ree but it is also having an impact on the local economy of the Ballyleague and Lanesboro areas.

“I intend to progress this issue in the Dáil again next week because it is not good enough that the Minister and her officials have been looking at this ’emergency’ situation for over a year – now it is time we see some practical action.”

ENDS.


DAIL QUESTION 

NO.1197&1209

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht which Government Department has overall responsibility for the entry into the State of invasive species, and the control of such species once found here; her views that this is a matter for the North-South Ministerial Council to ensure uniformity across the island of Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Denis Naughten.

* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 3rd November, 2015.

Ref No: 38372/15 Proof: 169

Transferred (from) Taoiseach — 03/11/2015 — Question No 1601 (Written)

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for details of the assessment, if any, performed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service on the implications of the Asian clam infestation in the Lough Ree Special Protection Area at Lanesborough in County Longford; the conclusions drawn from this assessment; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Denis Naughten.


* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 3rd November, 2015.

Ref No:  38374/15 Proof:  1292 Order:  1209

R E P L Y

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Heather Humphreys, T.D.) 

I propose to answer Questions No. 1197 and 1209 together.

I refer the Deputy to my replies on this matter, in this House on the 24 September last.

My Department is responsible for the Wildlife Acts and the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 477/2011), both of which prohibit the spreading of invasive species.

In general, control of invasive species is a matter for landowners, and my Department carries out considerable work on control of such species in National Parks and Nature Reserves. My Department does not have the resources required to extend such work into the wider countryside, or to provide dedicated funds for such work to other bodies.

A considerable level of co-operation already exists between Departments and agencies in both jurisdictions on this island on the issue of invasive species. For example, my Department worked with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), to fund and manage the Invasive Species Ireland Project which provided substantial advice and guidance on the management of a range of invasive species, which can negatively impact on the environment and on property on the island of Ireland.

Best Practice Management Guidelines for a number of invasive species can be accessed on the project website at www.invasivespeciesireland.com. In addition, we are working, through the British Irish Council (BIC), with other Member Administrations on this issue and will host a workshop next year in Dublin on this theme. In the circumstances, I do not consider it necessary to add this topic to the North-South Work Programme at this time.

My Department has not carried out an assessment of the impact of the Asian Clam population on the Lough Ree Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds.

A group of relevant agencies, including the ESB, Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Local Authorities and my Department, have met on several occasions to consider this situation. It is clear that it would be extremely difficult to exterminate it. It is not yet clear to what extent the clam is a threat to Lough Ree.

My Department will continue to work with Inland Fisheries Ireland and other agencies on this problem.

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