Mooney, Wednesday February 5th 2014

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Caring For Wild Animals

Please note that many species of mammals, birds, invertebrates etc... are protected under law and that, even with the best of intentions, only someone holding a relevant licence from the National Parks & Wildlife Service should attempt the care of these animals.  For full details, please click here to read the NPWS Checklist of protected & rare species in Ireland.  If you are concerned about a wild animal, please contact your local wildlife ranger - click here for details.

Events & Listings

Click here for a full list of events taking place around the country, and movies currently on release, which might be of interest to wildlife lovers!

On Mooney today...

On Mooney today...

We catch up with Ryan Dolan, Ireland's representative at last year's Eurovision Song Contest, we chat to Devon Harris, one of the original Jamaican bobsled team as featured in the movie Cool Runnings, Brenda finds out about the variety of ways in which you address your mother, and we discover out why a shark cull in Australia has caused so much controversy...

Caring For Garden Birds This Winter

Caring For Garden Birds This Winter

To find out how to care for and attract garden birds, read Jim Wilson's Guide To Garden Birds - CLICK HERE!

Mammy, Ma, Mum or Mother

Mammy, Ma, Mum or Mother

Well, towards the end of the programme yesterday, a nerve seemed to be touched, on the subject of The Mother... How you address your mother? Do you call her Mum, Mother, Ma, Mammy , Mama, or even her first name?

What, you call the person who reared you or what, they like to be called is a rather delicate subject. This morning, our reporter Brenda Donohue went out and about to ask people about how they address their maternal parent...

Ryan Dolan

Picture the scene: Malmo, Sweden. May 2013. The final of the Eurovision Song Contest. A young leather-clad man from Strabane strode out onto stage and sung his heart out for Ireland... 

WE loved it. What a catchy tune, we thought. But it wasn’t to be. With only 5 points, Ireland came last. But Ryan Dolan was determined not to let that get him down.

His forthcoming single is called Start Again, for a lot of reasons, and there is a very poignant music video accompanying the single, featuring two young gay teenagers.

To tell us all about his new single, and indeed starting again, we're delighted to be joined in studio today by Ryan himself...

The Jamaican Bobsled Team

Last week on the show, we spoke about 'unlikely' competitors in the Winter Olympics who all hail from fairly 'tropical' countries, bereft of snow and ice. Well possibly the most famous of ALL the improbable stories is the Jamaican-Bobsled-Team’s debut at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

It melted hearts all over the world. Disney knew a good story when it saw one - and turned the story into a movie: Cool Runnings, from 1993. 

The bobsled is a four-man event and one of the men who was in the REAL Jamaican bobsled (not the movie bobsled) back in 1988 was bobsled driver, Devon Harris, and he joins us on the line today from New York!

Devon Harris

The 22nd Winter Olympics will take place in Sochi, Russia this month, beginning this Friday - for more information, visit And to visit the Facebook page of Devon Harris' KEEP ON PUSHING Foundation, click here.

Life Down Under

Life Down Under

The Irish have been a major force in Australian life for many decades. Many Irish were transported to the other side of the world by the British, in the 19th century, sometimes for the most petty of crimes!

But even since independence, the Irish have continued to embrace that trip "down under", sometimes out of economic necessity, sometimes, by choice.

In fact, a major study by University College Cork, published in September of last year, showed that nearly half the people emigrating from Ireland these days are leaving full-time jobs to do so. And Australia remains a destination of choice for many of those Irish.

To tell me more about life in Oz, we are joined on the line today by Nicole O'Connor, from Blarney in Cork, who has been now living in Australia for 13 years...

Hedgerows: It is an offence to 'cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season from 1 March to 31 August, subject to certain exceptions'. For more information, click here.

UPDATE: February 29th 2016 - Press Release From BirdWatch Ireland:

Putting the record straight: Dates for burning and hedge-cutting have NOT changed

BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland’s largest conservation charity, is very concerned about misinformation that is currently circulating regarding the dates within which the burning of vegetation and cutting of hedges is permitted.  It would like to remind landowners that all burning and cutting must cease on 29th February this year and that burning and cutting remains prohibited from 1st March to 31st August.

Despite attempts by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., to change the laws regulating these dates by introducing the Heritage Bill 2016 earlier this year, it is important to note that the proposed date changes were ultimately NOT made.  This is because the bill failed to pass through both houses of the Oireachtas before the recent dissolution of the Dáil in advance of the general election.

The laws in place governing the dates for hedge-cutting and upland burning therefore remain unchanged. The period within which cutting and burning is prohibited are set down in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended in 2000), which states that:

(a) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.
(b) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch during the period mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection (above).

The existing law provides exemptions for road safety and other circumstances and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.

Section 40 of the Wildlife Act exists to protect nesting birds. Many of our upland bird species are in decline and are in danger of extinction in Ireland; amongst them is the Curlew, which has declined by 80%. Many birds which nest in hedgerows into August are also in serious decline, including the endangered Yellowhammer. The changes to the cutting and burning dates which had been proposed in the now-defunct Heritage Bill 2016 would have caused serious impacts to these birds. A petition launched by BirdWatch Ireland in conjunction with several other national conservation organisations to stop these changes attracted more than 16,200 signatures and rising.

BirdWatch Ireland would also like to advise members of the public that if they see hedges being cut or fires in the uplands on or after 1st March, such activity could be illegal.  In such cases, we would encourage people to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service ( to report such activity.

BirdWatch Ireland warmly welcomes the demise of the Heritage Bill 2016 and sincerely hopes that any future administration will consider the importance of Ireland’s natural heritage and will not attempt to reintroduce such a flawed and damaging piece of legislation.

To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.


Please DO NOT send any live, dead or skeletal remains of any creature whatsoever to Mooney Goes Wild.

If you find an injured animal or bird, please contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service on 1890 20 20 21, or BirdWatch Ireland, on 01 281-9878, or visit


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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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