A farmer from Offaly has been convicted and fined for the destruction of a hedgerow during the bird nesting season, which is a violation of the Wildlife Acts.
According to a spokesperson from the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, Desmond Bagnall, a farmer from Killellery, Geashill, Co. Offaly, appeared before Tullamore District Court on Monday, July 19, 2021. He was charged with breaching Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts for the destruction of vegetation during the bird nesting season.
Bagnall pleaded guilty to the offence, and the case was prosecuted by Sandra Mahon, state solicitor for Co. Offaly.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Conservation Rangers, Colm Malone, and Kieran Buckley, responded to a complaint from a member of the public about the destruction of hedgerow vegetation in Killellery, Geashill, Co. Offaly, as stated by the department spokesperson.
The extent of the destruction was documented by the NPWS over two days and presented as evidence in court.
A total of 109 meters of hedgerow was completely destroyed, piled into a corner of a field, and burnt by Bagnall.
The destroyed vegetation included old native hedgerows with mature ash and whitethorn trees, as mentioned by the spokesperson.
“Conservation ranger Malone testified that the vegetation was destroyed during the peak bird nesting season.”
The ranger reportedly stated that there was no reason why the destruction could not have been done between September and February in any year.
As a result, Judge Catherine Staines convicted Bagnall and imposed a fine of €1,000, with four months given to pay the fine, as stated by the spokesperson.