A Eagarthóir, Once again our roadsides, both local and national, are bathed in a sea of golden flowered Ragwort.
These toxic plants prosper and proliferate despite the fact they are explicitly prohibited by the 1936 Noxious Weeds Act. The plant is fatal if eaten by cattle and horses. It is particularly so in its withered state when it is most difficult to detect as it is hidden in hay or other appetising animal feed. Failure to comply with the Act should result in prosecution and fine by the Courts. Statutory Bodies, such as local authorities and especially the NRA should, as a matter of course, comply in all matters with the law of the land. Failure to do so should be viewed as a most serious dereliction of duty.
If the ever- expanding proliferation of ragwort is to be reversed it is imperative that all the relevant bodies, both statutory and voluntary, cooperate. In that context the concerns expressed by at least one farming organisation is to be welcomed. If, following due consultation, it is determined that the 1936 Act is inoperable then there needs to be an overall review of the situation and new approach adopted.
It is most certainly not acceptable that statutory bodies such as local authorities, the National Roads Authority and the Department of the Environment and local government are in breach of the law of the land. We've had more than our share of double standards in Ireland and are, at many levels, paying a huge price for that.
In my view, the Department of Agriculture, as the enforcing body, should vigorously pursue all who allow this weed to thrive and insist that all State agencies comply with the law. Mo Bhuíochas leat. Michael Gleeson (Cllr) Killarney.