Ignorance Of The Law Is No Excuse

Today is March 11th 2020. I highlight this date because under the Wildlife Act 2000, hedge cutting is banned every year between March 1st and August 31st.

This necessary law was introduced quite clearly aimed at the protection and maintainence of wildlife diversity, thus establishing areas where wildlife can thrive during the seasons when birds nests and flowers [“In this particular area most notably an abundance of Meadowsweet”, latter a favourite of the Bee and the Chafer Beetle (or ‘June Bug’)] are most common.

Phone image taken today 11/3/2020. Photo G.Willoughby

However, laws written on our Statutes Books, don’t appear to apply to North Tipperary, as today we sat and watched hedge cutting machinery giving the “middle finger” to our statutes, while cutting rural hedges and an area where flowers were beginning to grow on the Thurles / Templetuohy roadside.

Questions: [A] So will the National Parks and Wildlife Service, latter under the remit of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, now contact Tipperary Co. Council, seeking an explanation, before prosecuting?
[B] Did no members of An Garda Síochána patrol this rural road over the past number of day, thus observing this flouting of our law?

Two things are also worthy of note:-
[1] The hedge cutting machinery propelled by an 05 registered green tractor [Note: Machine Reg. No. noted but withheld] operated without the necessary health and safety signs required, when operating on a narrow public road.
[2] This work had all the markings of Tipperary Co. Council authorisation. I base this on the fact that the only hedge cutting undertaken was from the roadside, none from the farmers side; an operation which could easily have been undertaken between the months August 31st 2019 and March 1st 2020.

Interesting to note, the last prosecution taken by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, handed out a fine of €750, accompanied by a further fine of €500, following claims that the offender was not familiar with the wildlife law. It would apper that ignorance of the law was no excuse.


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