Ban on importation of non-native honeybees wanted, Seanad advised – The Irish Times

Ireland must ban the importation of non-native honeybees with a view to save the Irish black honeybee, the Seanad has heard.

The Irish honeybee, which has particularly tailored to the colder Irish climate and performs a significant function in pollination and meals manufacturing, is at risk of extinction as a result of importation of non-native species, the House heard. When they mate with non-native bees it leads to hybrid offspring.

Green Party Senator Vincent P Martin stated imported bees may additionally usher in pathogens and pests, which may have an effect on the native bees and enhance the necessity for chemical therapies. He stated the Irish honeybee is extra frugal with its honey shops, much less aggressive, much less prone to swarm and has tailored to Ireland’s local weather. Mr Martin stated this bee is a sort of darkish European honeybee and Ireland is “the last stronghold” on the continent for these.

There is, nevertheless, some concern {that a} ban on non-native species could contravene EU legislation in relation to freedom of motion, as bees are thought of livestock. Mr Martin stated it’s potential to introduce the ban, because the Protection of the Native Irish Honey Bee Bill 2021 was developed by scientists, beekeepers and barristers from the Climate Bar Association. He stated the ban can be proportionate because it goals to avoid wasting an endangered species.

Fianna Fáil Senator Erin McGreehan stated Irish authorities ought to work to take care of our native crops and animals. “We want the Department of Agriculture to be bold and brave… we have to protect our native biodiversity.”

She stated her native space of Cooley, Co Louth is likely one of the few locations on this planet that produces bell honey, which comes from bees who collect nectar from the bell heather. She stated this could possibly be misplaced if progressive and optimistic motion is just not taken.

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard known as for North-South co-operation to make sure the laws is enforceable.

Green Party Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, stated it was clear there was assist throughout the Oireachtas and all events. She stated officers from the Department of Agriculture met the Native Irish Honey Bee Society final Friday as they protested outdoors Leinster House and that they are going to meet once more formally within the coming weeks.

“The Government has some concerns that a statutory ban on bee imports into Ireland would constitute a restriction of trade on EU regulations,” she stated, including that the Government would search authorized recommendation on the matter.

However, Mr Martin stated he didn’t consider a “trade war” would get away because of the proposed ban.

“Are they going to ban our butter? Really now, it’s not going to happen. There are exceptions [to free trade] laid down, we cannot afford to be conservative… it is crucial to preserve a piece of Europe’s biological treasury,” he stated, including that business importers of non-native bees ought to be supported to transition to native species.

The Bill will now transfer ahead to be debated at committee stage.

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