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Irish minister's pledge on wildlife sites

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John Gormley revealed he has already signed 32 orders protecting a diverse range of locations and will approve a further 20 within weeks

John Gormley revealed he has already signed 32 orders protecting a diverse range of locations and will approve a further 20 within weeks

John Gormley revealed he has already signed 32 orders protecting a diverse range of locations and will approve a further 20 within weeks

The Republic's Environment Minister has pledged to have more than 50 sites across Ireland designated for the protection of habitat and wildlife.

John Gormley revealed he has already signed 32 orders protecting a diverse range of locations and will approve a further 20 within weeks.

The Green Party leader said also he plans to reveal in the coming days how the country will mark International Biodiversity Week, which runs from Friday May 21.

Mr Gormley said efforts to protect the world's habitat must begin at home.

"Protecting our biodiversity is a complex matter but nonetheless some of our projects have had great success," he said.

"With the Golden Eagle Project, in spite of difficulties with poisoning, we have reintroduced Red Kites to Wicklow, Golden Eagles to Donegal and White Tailed Eagles to Kerry.

"We have provided new breeding ponds for the Natterjack Toad in Kerry; the numbers for the Peregrine Falcon are noted at a historic high; the Grey Partridge which was near extinction now has a viable population.

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"Bats are generally in good status and we have relocated Red Squirrels to the West in order to afford them protection from the Grey Squirrel."

The Minister said the purpose of International Year of Biodiversity 2010 is to raise public awareness of the importance of biodiversity and the consequences of its loss.

Ireland, along with all other EU member states, have been engaged in ensuring the survival of these areas through a programme of site designations.


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