A County Laois man has been given a three month suspended prison sentence for the possession of two dead Buzzards, which were found strung up on his land.

The offence took place on the 19th of April 2020.  The offence was investigated by the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage. It was prosecuted under the Wildlife Acts.

At the District Court sitting, photographs of the two dead Buzzards and X-ray evidence were presented to Judge Catherine Staines.

In her summation, Judge Staines expressed her abhorrence at the undignified manner in which two beautiful birds were displayed, saying it showed no respect whatsoever. It was, she said, “an example of a disgusting lack of respect in an outrageous act of wildlife crime”.

Judge Staines then detailed to the court that she had to consider a prison sentence as an appropriate way to deal with this matter. She convicted the man in question of the possession of the two Dead Buzzards under Section 45 (2) and 45 (7) of the Wildlife Acts and imposed a three-month sentence of imprisonment, which she suspended on the Accused’s own bond for a period of one year.

“Wildlife crime is serious, and it has serious consequences”

The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Malcolm Noonan TD said that recent judgements in the District Courts indicate clearly that wildlife crimes have serious consequences:

“I welcome the conviction in this awful case and would like to thank everyone involved in securing it. I particularly welcome the comments of Judge Staines, who acknowledged the outrageousness of the crime and the lack of respect shown to these beautiful birds. Recent judgements being handed down in the Courts to people convicted of deliberately destroying habitats or harming wildlife are sending out a clear signal that, as a society, we will no longer tolerate such actions. Wildlife crime is serious, and it has serious consequences. We need to protect nature,” he said.

Ciara O’Mahony, Regional Manager of the South East Region of the National Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, welcomed the reporting of this matter by a concerned member of the public, and encouraged more who witness wildlife crimes such as this to come forward in confidence to the NPWS.

“We are increasingly receiving contact about wildlife crime and habitat destruction, from people who are concerned about biodiversity loss. We welcome such reports, and the nature conservation consciousness and awareness that they represent,” she said. 

Any member of the public wishing to report possible wildlife crime or illegal habitat destruction can contact the NPWS through [email protected] or direct to local NPWS staff. For more detail on wildlife legislation, see www.npws.ie

Information in relation to recording incidents involving birds of prey, including Buzzards, “Recording and Addressing Persecution and Threats to our Raptors. A Review of Incidents” can be found at:https://www.npws.ie/sites/default/files/publications/pdf/IWM126.pdf


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage Press Office

Tel: (01) 888 2638 (direct)

Email: [email protected]

Website: gov.ie/housing

Twitter: @DeptHousingIRL