A farmer who pleaded guilty to the poisoning of two buzzards has been ordered to pay a €500 fine and €1,500 in costs within four months of the decision at Carlow District Court, having being found in breach of wildlife protection regulations.

Buzzards are a protected species of bird which the court heard had been exposed to an “astonishing amount of poison” in the incident.

The farmer, named Mr Christopher Thomas Noel Doyle aka Noel Doyle senior, holds an address at Crehelp, Co Wicklow.

A conservation ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) found a dead buzzard on lands at Athgreany, Co Wicklow.

Another dead buzzard, a dead raven and a sheep carcase near a fox den were subsequently found after further investigation.

The sheep was allegedly cut open and “laced with large amounts” of the banned poison carbofuran, which showed up in testing carried out by the Department of Agriculture, Dublin Regional Veterinary Laboratory (RVL) and in tests conducted by the State Laboratory.

The presiding judge Judge Marie Keane spared Mr Doyle a custodial sentence for his age, the court heard.

‘Heinous’ crime

Minister of State at the Department of Housing Malcolm Noonan, who has responsibility for the NPWS, welcomed the conviction and stated that the case had been a “disturbing” breach of wildlife protection regulations.

“I strongly welcome this conviction for what is a particularly heinous and disturbing wildlife crime,” said Minister Noonan.

“I’d like to acknowledge the sterling efforts and dedication of the NPWS staff involved in bringing this prosecution, and indeed the efforts of staff all around the country who successfully closed 21 prosecutions in 2021 and 19 more to date in 2022, and are currently progressing a further 49.

“I’d like to remind everyone that the NPWS has more rangers than ever, and that it’s never been more focused – or more effective – on wildlife crime,” he commented.