Application to Capture or Kill
Most wild birds are protected with the exception of certain scheduled ones which are usually regarded as vermin. The Minister may declare a species of wild birds such as may be captured or killed under circumstances and conditions set out in regulations.
Where damage is caused by protected wild birds or protected wild animals, to livestock, poultry, crops either on pasture or cultivated land, pen-reared or wild birds on any land, other fauna, flora, woodland or plantation or fisheries, then notwithstanding other provisions of the Wildlife Act, the Minister may cause to be taken by a person authorised such steps including entering the land and capturing and killing any of such wild bird or wild animal as he thinks appropriate. The Minister may first require the owner or occupier to give an indemnity against claims arising from anything done by the Minister in exercise of functions.
An application may be made by the owner or occupier to the Minister for permission to capture or kill any bird or animal that would be otherwise protected.The permission is for a limited period only. Particulars of the birds or animals concerned must be set out. Permission may be granted subject to such conditions as may be applied.
There is a separate power, for the Minister to give declarations permitting the capturing and killing of a species of wild birds specified where they are a threat to public health or safety or likely to cause serious damage to crops, live stock, fisheries or forestry, flora or fauna. The means by which they may be killed are specified which includes shooting with a rifle or shot guns cage traps, snares and nets which are approved.
A declaration is made annually by the Minister in respect of certain regions and in respect of species of wild birds and circumstances in which they may be killed.The Minister may make declarations in relation to species of wild bird where he is of the opinion that they are a threat to air safety. They may be killed by methods and means of killing specified.
A person who enters land with a firearm device or instrument for hunting or enters land for the purpose of hunting or carries on land any fire arm without permission of the owner or occupier is guilty of an offence. The owner and occupier, persons enjoying sporting rights, persons holding licenses may the demand name and address of the persons concerned.
It is an offence to refuse a demand or give false or misleading name and address. The offence may be prosecuted by various parties including the Secretary of a recognised body entitled to sporting rights over the land.
In the case of prosecution by recognised bodies, they must prove they have advertised notice in the newspaper that sporting rights in respect of which prosecution is brought are reserved to their body. The Minister may declare by regulation any association, society or body of persons which has its objects, the conservation of games as a recognised body.
There are extensive powers to search and enter for the purpose of enforcement of the Wildlife Act. Members of Garda Síochána or authorised persons may search vehicles, vessels, aircraft, open packages and require persons in charge of the vehicles to furnish information in relation to enforcement of the Act.
They may inspect and take copies of entries of any book or records produced pursuant to a requirement made. In certain cases, search warrants are required and may be obtained by members of Garda Síochána or authorised officers.
Authorised officers appointed by the Minister or under the Forestry Act may at reasonable times enter and inspect and survey any land for the purpose of ascertaining whether there are fauna on the land that need protection and for other purposes. The Minister may authorise persons or take steps including entering lands and capturing and killing wild birds and animals which are causing damage.
There are powers of entry for the purpose of investigating contraventions of the legislation. There are extensive powers of search.
The Minister may make regulations
- regulating hunting by eagles, hawks, falcons or other birds trained to hawk for sport.
- regulating possession, breeding, training.
He may provide that persons may not engage in falconry or have in their possession any eagle, hawk, or falcon without a license.
There are regulations which provide requirements for licenses. They also provide specifically regarding the extent of accommodation of birds of prey including provisions for adequate size, shelter, temperature, lighting, ventilation, cleanliness of cages, provision of adequate perches, control, precautions regarding infectious diseases, guarding against dangerous and hazards.
Movement of Protected Fauna
There is provision regarding transport of packages containing certain fauna, where they contain protected wild birds or animals or their carcass or eggs of protected birds. Every such package, parcel, box or container if transported must contain conspicuous labels setting out what is contained and the name of the consignor. A failure to do so is an offence.
The Minister may make regulations prohibiting the importation save under licence of any wild animal or wild bird, the dead body or carcass, any part thereof, any eggs or spawn, any plants or species, flower or roots of any plants or part of any plant. Licences may be granted for importation. Breach of the legislation is an offence.
The Minister may make regulations prohibiting the export save under licence export of any of the above. In the case of both importation and exportation without licence, the relevant persons commit an offence.
Protection of Wild Birds
The Wildlife Act gives the Minister extensive powers to protect wild birds. Most, if not all wild birds are protected with power on the part of the Minister to permit killing and capture of certain birds in certain circumstances.
It is an offence to hunt a protected wild bird. It is an offence to injure a protected wild. It is an offence to take or remove the eggs or nest of a protected wild bird. It is an offence to wilfully destroy, injure or mutilate the eggs or nest of a protected wild bird or eggs or unborn young.
There are exemptions from the general offence in relation to the following: engaging in
- engaging in agriculture, fishery or forestry,
- unintentionally injuring or killing a protected bird,
- removing for conservation purposes or destroying unintentionally eggs or a nest in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry,
- capturing an injured or disabled protected wild bird for humane killing,
- humanely killing a wild bird that has been injured in a manner described or in specified circumstances,
- taking eggs of a protected wild bird for the purpose of having them hatched for repopulation or reintroduction into the wild.
- destroying or removing any nests which is built in or owned and occupied building,
- while constructing a road or while an archaeological operation, building operation or work or engineering, or while constructing or carrying on such other operation as may be prescribed unintentionally or to kill or injure a protected wild bird or to remove for conservation purposes or unintentionally destroy, injure or mutilate the eggs or nest of a protected wild bird.
Licences to Capture or Kill
The Minister may grant a licence to any person to capture or kill humanely protected wild bird of a species specified.
- to hunt in accordance with licence on such day and during such periods protected wild birds which are both pen reared and of a species specified
- to hunt on one such day or during such period of day’s protected wild birds or species so specified for the purpose of either training gun dogs or any other field sport or holding gun dogs trials.
- taking the nest or eggs of protected wild birds of a species so specified for educational, scientific or other purposes as shall be specified
- examine, inspect ortake the nests or eggs of protected wild birds of a species so specified
- to take or make photographic, video or other pictures of a protected wild bird of a species specified in the licence on or near a nest containing eggs or unflown young,
- to have in possession, for a reasonable period of time— an injured or disabled wild bird, or one or more than one dependant young of a wild bird which is orphaned, with the intention of tending and later releasing such bird or young back into the wild when and only when such bird or young, as the case may be, is no longer injured, disabled or dependant,
- to retain possession of a wild bird, that for reasons of disability or for other reasons deemed reasonable by the Minister, would, if released, be unlikely to survive unaided in the wild
Protection of Wild Animals
Wild animals scheduled in the Wildlife Act are protected. Any person
- who hunts a protected wild animal which is not exempted, otherwise than in accordance with a permission or licence granted by the Minister.
- hunts an exempted wild mammal otherwise than in accordance with a permission or licence
- injures a protected wild animal otherwise than while hunting it
- wilfully interferes with the breeding place of any protected wild animal
is guilty of an offence.
The Minister may grant a licence to a person to capture or humanely kill or capture and humanely kill at any time a protected wild animal of a species specified in the licence for such educational, scientific or other purposes as may be specified.
The exemption from offences as follows:
- while engaged in agriculture, fishing or forestry or zoology or other in any other scientific pursuit unintentionally to injure or kill a protected wild animal.
- while so engaged to interfere with or destroy the breeding place of such animal.
- while constructing a road or while carrying on archaeological operations, building operations or work of engineering construction as or while construction or carrying on such operation or work as may be prescribed, to kill or injure such animal or destroy or injure the breeding place.
- to capture the animal for the purpose of killing it humanely or with the intention of attending to it and later releasing it.
- to kill humanely a wild animal which is either injured in the manner described or captured in the manner described or so as to kill a protected wild animal injured in circumstances described.
The provision is not to make unlawful
- the taking and killing of hares at a regulated coursing match which is held during a period specified as regards hares in an order and in a place to which the order applies.
- The hunting of hares by means of beagles or harriers both during a period specified as regards hares and in a place to which it applies.
- anything permitted under the Whale Fisheries Act 1937.
- anything permitted pursuant to statute.
A defence of urgent necessity may apply where damage is being occasioned in certain circumstances.
Protected Flora & Plants
The Minister may make orders protecting species of flora and plants. They may be protected in the State generally or in part of the State. The Minister is to consult with planning authority before making an order which would apply to their area.
A person shall not, where there is a prohibition or protection in place,
- cut, pick, collect, uproot or otherwise take, injure or damage any flowers, roots, seeds as specimens;
- purchase, keep for sale, sell, transport, sell or exchange or offer for sale or be in possession of any specimen whether alive or dead of flowers, roots, seeds, pores and parts thereof.
- wilfully alter, damage or destroy or interfere with the habitat or environment of any species.
The Minister may grant a licence to a person for scientific, educational and other purposes as may be specified to cut, pick or uproot and take flora of a species to alter and interfere with the habitat or environment of any specimen or plant that includes a tree or shrub.