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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 25 February, 2020

Josepha Madigan rejects calls to reintroduce wolves into Ireland

Eamon Ryan TD today called for the reintroduction of the animal to help rewild part of the countrywide.

Image: Shutterstock/Holly Kuchera

CULTURE MINISTER Josepha Madigan has said the government has no plans to reintroduce wolves into Ireland. 

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan earlier today called for the reintroduction of the animal to help rewild part of the countrywide.

RTÉ reports that Ryan said their reintroduction would create a real sense of wilderness and help develop more resilient woodlands. 

However, Madigan has this afternoon said the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht “has no plans to reintroduce wolves in Ireland”. 

“The reintroduction of a large predator which has been absent for 250 years might undermine existing conservation programmes and would do considerable damage to farming,” Madigan said in a tweet. 

Today’s comments come after an episode of’s Ireland 2029 podcast in August examined the debate around the reintroduction of wolves into Ireland in detail. 

Speaking to during the podcast, Padraic Fogarty, the campaigns officer with the Irish Wildlife Trust, was of the view that a sea-change in how we view nature would be needed for the benefits of reintroducing an apex predator like the wolf to become apparent to communities in Ireland.

“The issues we’re facing here are not necessarily ecological or scientific, they’re more about our own perceptions and our own attitudes,” Fogarty said. 

“I think, more than anything, the wolf forces us to look nature right between the eyes. I mean, most of human history is about subduing nature and controlling nature. And we’ve become so good at that, that we’re actually destroying the entire planet.

“So getting around the issue of wolves is about recognising our place in nature and the natural systems and learning to live with the things around us,” he said. 

The episode also looked at issues such as whether wolves would be a boost to tourism, whether they pose a danger to people and livestock, and how they died out in Ireland. 

Despite having held on in Ireland for hundreds of years after becoming extinct in England and Wales, the last native Irish wolf was hunted down and killed in the late 1700s – most likely at Mount Leinster on the Carlow-Wexford border.’s Ireland 2029 podcast episode ‘Should Ireland reintroduce wolves?’ can be listened to below: 

Source: Ireland 2029/SoundCloud

With reporting by Daragh Brophy

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