Majority of habitats threatened: Delusion and destruction

Majority of habitats threatened: Delusion and destruction

Even at a moment when the leader of the free world looks ever more like one of Nurse Ratched’s tortured patients in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, it is impossible not to be concerned by another report, about Ireland’s habitats and the species, other than us, that depend on them.

The scale of destruction is so great that a sense of shame, and maybe panic too, seems appropriate.

A Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht report to the European Commission — one that presumably accentuated the positive — records that 85% of habitats are in an “unfavourable” condition.

More than 70% of habitats are damaged by farming. Over-grazing is a primary issue. There has been no improvement or reversal of this destructive trend since the last such report, six years ago. What an indictment that is.

An iconic species, once abundant and honoured with a place on our coinage, is facing extinction.

The Atlantic salmon, along with the freshwater pearl mussel and the white-clawed crayfish, faces an uncertain future because of our misuse of the natural world.

Incredibly, at this 11th hour for the species, it is still possible to buy and sell wild salmon, because we put “traditional rights” — and votes — before protecting this magnificent animal.

It seems pointless to list another litany of destruction, but our refusal to confront these issues is as delusional as anything seen by Nurse Ratched.

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