We got an e-mail into the programme last week from a listener who wants us to help spread awareness of the dangers associated with a plant that can terrible burns if you come in contact with it.
David Gillic said he was out running in Kildare when he briefly made contact a plant that was unknown to him. He subsequently erupted into painful blisters, and found out that it was caused by Giant Hogweed, and invasive plant species that excretes a phototoxic sap…
David says: "I was personally shocked to learn of the existence of this type of plant as part of our national flora. Although not indigenous, it seems here to stay and I believe I'm more than qualified to state it poses a serious public health risk. Contact with the eyes can lead to blindness! Children too could be easily drawn to this plant as it resembles many other benign members of its own family closely.
I have added a few photos of the offending plant and of the results of my run in with what I feel is a plant sent straight from the gardens of Hell!
Please spread the word. It's a horrible plant.
Well Dave, thank you for your e-mail, and to explain more about Giant Hogweed, we are joined in studio today by Dr. Joe Caffrey, Senior Research Officer with the Invasive Species Section of Inland Fisheries Ireland.
Hedgerows and the Law
Hedgerows in Ireland form important features in maintaining wildlife diversity and in establishing wildlife "corridors", particularly for birds. The commonest nesting birds found in hedgerows such as wrens, dunnocks, robin and willow warblers depend entirely on insects during the Summer months. In general untrimmed, thorned hedgerows containing species such as blackthorn, whitethorn and holly are favoured by birds as they provide ample food and also serve as a protection against predators.
Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended by Section 46 of the 2000 Act, provides protection for hedgerows by providing that it shall be an offence for a person 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. It is important that, where possible, necessary work to hedgerows is carried out outside this period.
It is possible in most cases to schedule and carry out necessary work to hedgerows outside this period. The legislation makes provision for works (other than road or other construction works) to be carried out for reasons of public health and safety under the authority of any Minister or a body established by statute that lead to the destruction of vegetation. There is also a provision to enable the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government to request from the relevant Minister or body details of any such works together with a statement of the public health and safety factors involved.
It shall not be an offence to destroy vegetation in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry. Also it shall not be illegal to destroy vegetation while preparing or clearing a site for lawful building or construction works.
It is the policy of the Minister to prosecute for offences under section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976 and 2000 and successful prosecutions have been taken under this section in recent years. Members of the public are encouraged to contact their local wildlife ranger and report instances where hedgerows are being destroyed during the prohibited period.
To follow us on Twitter, use the handle @MooneyShow.
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 www.irishwildlifematters.ie
Presenter: Derek Mooney