This article appeared in The Journal today:
Farmer fined €500 for poisoning protected bird species in Co Wicklow
By Lauren Boland
A FARMER HAS been fined for poisoning protected birds in Co Wicklow after pleading guilty to what a judge described as a “serious crime”.
Christopher Thomas Noel Doyle, also known as Noel Doyle Senior, with an address at Crehelp in Co Wicklow, came before the Carlow District Court over a breach of restrictions on the use of poisoned bait.
The judge imposed a €500 fine and €1,500 in expenses that he must pay within four months.
A conservation ranger told the court he had discovered two dead buzzards, a dead raven, and a sheep carcass on lands at Athgreaney, Co Wicklow.
[Buzzard, photographer unknown]
The court heard that the ranger first found a dead buzzard and after further investigation identified a second dead buzzard, a dead raven, and a sheep carcass placed near a fox den.
Post-mortems by the Department of Agriculture and testing by Dublin Regional Veterinary Laboratory and the State Laboratory found that the birds died due to high levels of poison (carbofuran) in their systems.
The sheep had been cut open and the wound was laced with large amounts of carbofuran.
The ranger said that the levels of poison were extremely hazardous to all forms of life and that it was very fortunate that no humans had been accidentally poisoned.
He said it was likely that other wild animals had scavenged the carcasses and died from poisoning but were never found.
Judge Marie Keane said there was an “astonishing amount of poison” used in what she described as a “serious crime” and “a deliberate enterprise” to try to persecute the local wildlife.
In a statement, Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan called it a “particularly heinous and disturbing wildlife crime”.
Buzzards are a protected species and deliberate poisoning of them is an offence under the Birds and Natural Habitats (Restrictions on the Use of Poisoned Bait) Regulations 2010.
Carbofuran was previously used as a pesticide in agriculture but is now banned because of its toxicity to wildlife, especially to birds.
Approval for the use of carbofuran products was withdrawn throughout the EU in 2007, including in Ireland in December of that year.
After an 18-month period to use up remaining stock, it was banned fully from 2009.