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Hen harrier image via Shutterstock
Endangered

Bog action group criticised for ‘appalling persecution’ of endangered bird

TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan said An Taisce needs to “stop burning bloody bridges” but said his association did not condone the group’s action.

AN ACTION GROUP supporting turfcutters at the Barroughter and Clonmoylan bogs in Galway has been criticised by charity An Taisce after comments about an endangered bird on its Facebook page.

The group warned members to “keep an eye out during the coming months for this pest of a hawk”, otherwise known as the hen harrier. The Facebook post said the bird kills a lot of small creatures on bogs.

It also called on members to “make sure that none of them land” on their bogs or are allowed to nest in them.

An Taisce launched an attack on Twitter yesterday, describing the post as an “appalling persecution of hen harriers by turfcutters in Ireland”.

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Speaking to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson for An Taisce said that it looks as though the group is calling for people to “attack an endangered species”.

“It is illegal to disturb a protected species and to prevent it from nesting,” they said.

Currently there are around 100 nesting couples of hen harriers in the country at the moment and An Taisce is concerned that messages like this could put the survival of the species further at risk.

‘Stop burning bloody bridges’

While the spokesperson said An Taisce could understand people trying to preserve the tradition of turf cutting, they said if the practice continued, there would be no bogs left for future generations to enjoy.

Turf cutting advocate Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan said that his group, the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association (TCCA), distanced itself from this action group in the past but added that he did not agree with An Taisce “taring all turf cutters with the same brush”.

“The TCCA line is clear,” he told TheJournal.ie. “We want turf cutting and conservation to go hand-in-hand.”

The TD suggested that An Taisce should “stop burning bloody bridges” and work with people, rather than “making accusations about all turf cutters”.

Related: Ireland’s most common birds of prey are in decline>

Read: Turf cutters ‘vindicate their rights’ and cut turf in Roscommon and Galway>

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