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43 prosecutions over alleged crimes against wildlife


The National Parks and Wildlife Service has said that it initiated 43 prosecutions this year for alleged breaches of wildlife legislation.

The figure is an almost 40% increase on the numbers prosecuted in 2022.

Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State for Nature, said that are a range of wildlife crimes such as the disturbance of bats, illegal hunting, badger digging and damage to special areas of conservation or hedgerow cutting out of season.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One programme, he said that there have been a range of issues which have been brought forward and 112 successful prosecutions since 2020.

“It takes quite a considerable amount of work for the National Parks and Wildlife Service working with An Garda Síochána to bring a case successfully to court,” he said.

“So quite a lot of the work that’s done is also around education, outreach and awareness.

“But bringing a case to court is quite a complex process and I think this marks the success since we established the wildlife enforcement and inter-protection directorate in the NPWS, of the cases that have been successfully brought, and reflected too in the seriousness that the cases are being taken in the courts, reflected in the fines that are being handed down and impacts say on farm payments in certain places.”

In relation to fines, the minister said that they can be quite significant and reach €3,000 or €4,000 in some cases.

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The Director General of the NPWS, Niall O’Donnchú, has said that work in detecting and preventing wildlife crime has been strengthened through the recruitment of additional staff and training.

Mr O’Donnchú also said that the NPWS works closely with An Garda Síochána.

” A joint protocol between the NPWS and An Garda Síochána has been in place since 2021 with ongoing strategic liaison on particular issues and development of training and knowledge and information sharing events,” he said.

Members of the public have been asked to report wildlife crimes and Mr Noonan said that anyone who suspects such a crime can contact gardaí, go to the NPWS website or email wildlifeenforcement@npws.gov.ie


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