Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 270 - Answered on 25th June, 2015

Clare Daly, TD (Dublin North, United Left)

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the action the National Parks and Wildlife Service is taking to cease the ongoing practices of bait digging, shellfish collecting and crabbing on Bull Island, North Dublin which result in the destruction of a protected EU Annex 1 habitat and the removal of invertebrates which are an important food source for birds.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys

Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature and biodiversity policy. It is an EU-wide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats.

It is comprised of special areas of conservation (also referred to as sites of community importance in the EU context) designated by Member States under the Habitats Directive and special protection areas which are designated under the 1979 Birds Directive.

The establishment of this network of protected areas also fulfils a Community obligation under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Bull Island is contained within the North Dublin Bay special area of conservation. It is also the focal point of the North Bull Island special protection area, formally designated in 2010 by Statutory Instrument (S.I. 211 of 2010). It is also recognised as a UNESCO biosphere by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. This biosphere designation has now been extended to Dublin Bay.

In accordance with the provisions of this Statutory Instrument, harvesting marine species, unless regulated by another public body or unless for personal use, may only be undertaken on the site with my consent, as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The site has been monitored by officials from my Department and I understand that bait digging is recognised as a management issue. However, I am advised there are significant operational challenges associated with the regulation and management of such activities that require careful consideration in the context of the overall ecological requirements of the site.


Contact Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Arts/Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys and urge them to provide funding for at least one wildlife ranger and dog warden to be assigned exclusively to Bull Island. Remind them that Bull Island is an important and internationally recognised nature reserve and that it is imperative that the wildlife is protected.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01-6194020
Fax: 01-6764048
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie
Tweet to: @EndaKennyTD
Leave a comment on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/endakennyofficial

Arts/Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys
Tel: (01) 631 3802 or (01) 631 3800
Tel: (01) 631 3802 or (01) 631 3800
Leave a comment on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/heather.humphreysfg
Tweet to @HHumphreysFG

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