Senator ponders, ‘If birds could vote, would policies in Ireland have been different?’

The Green's Pauline O’Reilly raises issue of endangerment to bird species in the Seanad

Greek playwright Aristophanes’ was, 2,500 years ago, pondering similar questions to those posed by Green Senator, Pauline O'Reilly, in the Seanad this week.

Greek playwright Aristophanes’ was, 2,500 years ago, pondering similar questions to those posed by Green Senator, Pauline O'Reilly, in the Seanad this week.

In Aristophanes’ play The Birds, two old men on the run from Athens and its laws, convince the local bird population to set up a city in the sky which will not only challenge the power of the Greek capital, but the power of the gods themselves.

The play - from which we get the term ‘cloud cuckoo land’ - may have been in the mind of Green senator Pauline O’Reilly, who, in the Seanad this week, asked the question, “What different policies would have been put in place if birds could vote?”

Sen O’Reilly was raising the serious issue of the increasing endangerment of a number of bird species in Ireland. “When we look down the list of birds that have moved from green to amber, and amber to red on the endangered list it can feel very overwhelming,” she said.

In response to Sen O'Reilly, Oonagh Duggan of Birdwatch Ireland said there is now an opportunity to restore biodiversity and draw attention to the issue. She noted that during the passage of the Heritage Bill, the proposed weakening of the laws to protect nesting birds saw a “phenomenal response” from the public.

“The tide has turned and I think the public are behind measures, they are behind initiatives, they want to see change, they want to see restored biodiversity and they want to tackle climate change as well,” she said. “I really do see this as an exciting time.”

 

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