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We're teaming up with the Scots to save birds of prey

The Irish and Scottish governments are to collaborate on ways to tackle the poisoning of birds of prey, it was confirmed today.

Scottish environment minister Roseanna Cunningham has written to John Gormley, calling for talks to address the problem in both countries.

A golden eagle reintroduction programme is currently under way in north-west Ireland, after an absence of 100 years, based on limited donations of chicks from Scotland.

Ms Cunningham said today: "Both countries are committed to a healthier future for golden eagles.

"People derive huge enjoyment from seeing these birds and they also help the economy in rural areas by boosting wildlife tourism.

"Sadly, poisoning is still being reported but both governments find this behaviour unacceptable."


Organisations from both countries are already collaborating in some areas on the conservation and protection of birds of prey.

Irish and Scottish police forces have been involved in exchange visits sharing expertise in detecting wildlife crime and Scottish Natural Heritage has been advising the Irish reintroduction project.

An official report earlier this year showed that 27 birds were killed in 2009 in Scotland as a result of illegal poisoning.

Up to 2008, 53 birds had been released in Ireland, with just three killed illegally.

Mr Gormley said: "We are very grateful to the Scottish government and people for their support in allowing eaglets to be taken for our reintroduction project.

"We understand the concern about eagles being poisoned and hope that both the Irish and Scottish governments can support each other in measures to stamp out this blight on both our countries."