Saturday 25 November 2017

The case of the birds, the bees, the Beetle and cows

John Vahey and local lady Beth Carty feeding the goose in the forecourt as they ponder what to do about him.
John Vahey and local lady Beth Carty feeding the goose in the forecourt as they ponder what to do about him.
Fears that bees could frighten cattle

Gordon Deegan

FEARS that swarms of bees will chase frightened cattle through the Burren have put a stop to plans for a bee apiary in the area.

Farmers say that the bees would cause significant upset for the local livestock and, for the moment at least, Clare County Council agrees.

Cllr Michael Kelly (FF), who is leading the charge against plans to locate the bee apiary in the Burren, claims that the centre "will result in death or injury for the cattle concerned".

"I'm farming 50 years in the Burren and I know how cattle behave around bees," he said.

"I am not being flippant about this, this is serious and the Burren shouldn't be treated as some kind of no-man's land. The bees should be brought elsewhere.


"I have seen the damage that swarms of bees can do, especially when they are in close proximity to cattle. There are serious ramifications for the Burren if this apiary is allowed to establish there.

"If the Burren is to thrive, cattle need to graze but cattle won't graze if there are bees swarming all over them."

Cllr Kelly was yesterday responding to a motion at the council's January monthly meeting by Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) asking for the support of the establishment of a native Irish honey bee apiary or centre in the Burren.

Cllr Flynn said its establishment would be for the conservation, protection and development of native bees, pointing out that the most recent figures show that bees are an important pollinator of crops, and worth €58m a year to the Irish agricultural economy.

"And that doesn't take into account the importance of the bee to the food chain," he said.

"The research that would commence in the Burren would be to establish a strong strain of the native Irish honey bee that is currently under threat," he added.

Cllr Flynn said that Cllr Kelly had identified risks to farmers and he was quite happy for councillors to hear expert opinion from both the conservation and agriculture sectors in order for councillors to support the proposal.

"It is very worthwhile for Clare, which already has a reputation for high-quality, artisan food," Cllr Flynn said.

Clare mayor Cllr Joe Arkins (FG) quipped "to bee, or not to bee" before adjourning the matter to allow the experts come before the council to give their views at a future meeting.

A GOOSE walks into a garage forecourt looking for a beetle -- it could be the opening line of a joke but it happens to be true.

The hapless bird wandered into a Volkswagen dealership looking to be fed and was happy to linger for most of the day, posing in front of a Beetle for a shot, unaware he had become a talking point on local radio.

Staff at Divane's garage in Castleisland, Co Kerry, were surprised when they turned up for work at 8.30am to find the goose in the middle of the forecourt, and he was in no hurry to leave.

"I know they eat beetles but the only type of Beetles we have were no good to him," sales manager John Vahey joked.

Instead, he had to be satisfied with bread and was happy to accept the offerings of staff.

"He was tame as could be, so we knew he must have wandered from a farm, but he seemed in no hurry to leave.

"You'd want to have heard the craic here with him today. People kept on coming in saying they wanted a gander at the new Golf."

The garage posted pictures of the goose online and sent some into Radio Kerry, which also posted them on its Facebook page.

Before calling into the garage, he had taken up residence in Beth Carty's garden nearby where he availed of her hospitality before moving on.

Callers to the radio station also detailed sightings of him at different locations around the town over the past few days.

And although an owner has yet to come forward, he is in good hands and is now in the care of the Kerry Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and a bird sanctuary in Currow has offered him a home if he isn't claimed.

Irish Independent

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