Louth Fianna Fáil Senator Erin McGreehan is calling for the Government to introduce a ban on the importation of non-native Irish bees.
Senator McGreehan commented, “It is time for some true ecological nationalism. A growing body of scientific research is proving what beekeepers have known for generations. A Limerick Institute of Technology scientist has proven beyond any doubt that the pure native Irish honeybee is not extinct as previously feared, but still exists on the island of Ireland. An applied science postgraduate student, Jack Hassett, has discovered that millions of the pure native species are living in at least 300 hives throughout the country.
“His study shows that while the black bee should be considered endangered, there are enough of the pure native honeybee in Ireland to not only ensure its survival with the proper support, but also enough Irish bees to repopulate northern Europe, where the majority of Apis mellifera mellifera has died out or been hybridised. It is too late to act once the horse has bolted. It is time for action.”
Senator McGreehan told the Seanad how she has spoken with Martin O’Rourke from the County Louth Beekeepers Association which was established in 1910 and has more than a century of collected knowledge on how best to protect native bee stocks, biodiversity and what is in the best interests of our island’s natural and native environment.
Senator McGreehan added, “The best bee for this country is the native Irish bee. The European Commission has stated, in a question about the protection of our native bee species, “Ireland can, however, decide at national level whether or not to give legal protection to this sub-species and to take the necessary conservation measures to protect it, for example in order to contribute to the attainment of the objectives of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.”
“We need to protect our native honeybee and introduce an importation ban of non-native Irish bees.”