A Co Offaly farmer was fined €1,000 for the destruction of vegetation during the bird nest season in July, a Department of Heritage spokesperson has told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“Mr Desmond Bagnall, a farmer from Killellery, Geashill, Co. Offaly, was before Tullamore District Court charged with a breach of Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts, involving the destruction of vegetation during the bird nest season," according to a statement.
“Mr Bagnall pleaded guilty to the offence. The case was prosecuted by Ms Sandra Mahon, State solicitor for Co Offaly.”
The court heard that National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) conservation rangers Colm Malone and Kieran Buckley followed up a complaint made by a member of the public that hedgerow vegetation was being destroyed at Killellery, Geashill, Co Offaly.
“Over a period of two days, the extent of the destruction was documented by the NPWS and presented in evidence to the court.
"A total of 109m was completely destroyed, piled into a corner of a field and burnt by Mr Bagnall.
“The vegetation that was destroyed contained old native hedgerows including mature ash and whitethorn trees,” the spokesperson said.
In his evidence to the court, conservation ranger Malone stated that the vegetation was destroyed during the peak of the bird nesting season.
He went on to say that he could not see any reason why it could not have been done from September to February of any year.
Judge Catherine Staines said she was convicting Mr Bagnall and imposed a fine of €1,000, with four months to pay.