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Star Wars filming did not harm Skellig's bird population, Minister insists

Specialist staff from the wildlife service and the monuments service were on hand this week, as JJ Abrams filmed the latest installment of the franchise.

ARTS & HERITAGE MINISTER Heather Humphreys has said there was no adverse impact on the bird population of Skellig Michael during the filming of the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise this week.

Director JJ Abrams filmed for two days on the Co Kerry island this week.

Concerns were raised by environmentalists, including Birdwatch Ireland, in advance of the project — the group said it would have preferred if the filming could have been moved to later in the year, when breeding season is over.

There were also concerns that the potential impact of the filming could cost the beauty spot its Unesco World Heritage status.

In a statement tonight, the recently-appointed Minister said:

Through collaborative engagement with the film company we managed to tailor the project to ensure that filming could take place without adverse impacts on the bird population.

The Skelligs [Air Corps/Facebook]

She said she would not have agreed to a project that would endanger the bird populations or archaeology on the island, adding:

Specialist staff from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Monuments Service as well as OPW experts were on site throughout the filming and are satisfied that there were no negative impacts.

More than 70 Irish people worked for the film company in the past week, according to the Minister’s statement — although there was no breakdown of the roles they carried out.

“The combined effort of the local community, the State agencies and the international film world made this a truly special experience for all.

This was a Team Ireland effort and I believe it showcased Ireland’s wonderful arts, heritage and cultural assets, as well as our technical capabilities in the film production sector.

Read: Star Wars filming begins on Skellig Michael as exciting footage emerges

Read: Could Star Wars cost Skellig Michael its Unesco World Heritage status?

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