Independent TD Marian Harkin wants to see a ban on non-Irish bees

Marian Harkin TD meeting with local Sligo beekeepers, Colin and Dylan Harris from Ballinfull along with Gerard Coyne from Connemara, Vice-Chair of the ‘Native Irish Honey Bee Association.’

Sligo Champion

Deputy Marian Harkin has supported a Bill proposed by Senator Victor P. Martin seeking to ban the importation of non-native honey bees into Ireland.

She said:“The science firmly backs up the need to stop importing non-native bees as they are diluting the adapted genetics of the Irish Honey Bee, as well as exposing it to many transmitted diseases.

“Already, Irish Honey Bees are under severe pressure from pesticides, insecticides and other threats, such as the varroa mite.

“If we weaken their genetic resilience by mating with non-native bees, then it is tantamount to a death sentence for the Irish Honey Bee.

She continued: “90% of Irish beekeepers, as well as Ireland’s major beekeeping associations support the call to ban the importation on non-native bees.

“It is also worth noting that similar bans operate on a limited basis in other EU countries e.g. islands off Denmark, parts of the Finnish archipelago, and also the Isle of Man.

“As an island, we are also in a unique position and we are recognised as the last stronghold of a precious subspecies of the dark European Honey Bee.

“This is a real treasure and we as legislators must make every effort to protect this treasure, our very own native Irish Honey Bee,” Deputy Harkin concluded.