A spokesperson for the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) has expressed his dismay that Cork minister Simon Coveney voted against a proposed temporary Europe-wide ban on an insecticide that has been linked with causing the destruction of bees.
Billy Flynn from the IWT described it as a “very disappointing outcome” and he wants the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to explain publicly why he voted against a proposed temporary Europe-wide ban on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides. The IWT have written a letter to Mr Coveney to that effect.
“There is strong scientific evidence that those insecticides are not good news for key pollinators.” He said there is no accurate record of the bee population in Ireland but research indicates that there are a number of different factors for the decline in bee numbers like the destruction of habitats, as well as chemicals.
Ireland has 101 different bee species of which half are in decline with six having been assessed as “critically endangered”. Neonicotinoids are implicated in “colony collapse disorder” and in bees’ ability to navigate. The European Food Safety Agency has labelled them “an unacceptable danger to bees”.
Ireland was one of only five countries to vote against this measure and the decision seems to have been taken behind closed doors and in a total absence of public information. IWT campaigns officer Pádraic Fogarty says: “We would like to know why this decision was made and if the Minister received any representations from special interest groups, and if so by whom. This decision to support the use of chemicals that are environmentally harmful is yet another blow to Ireland’s already tarnished ‘green’ image.”
According to a 2008 Government report “bees have an important, and often critical, role in the pollination of many horticultural and fruit crops”.
This report put a nominal value of this pollination service to the economy at €53 million per annum. The Government will have another chance to vote on this matter later this month.