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Wallace Launches COFORD Report On Irish Squirrel Survey

Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with responsibility for forestry, today officially launched the COFORD report on "The Irish Squirrel Survey 2007" in the Botanic Gardens, Dublin.

Launching the report, Minister of State Wallace commented "Not only does forestry provide us with economic, social, recreational and environmental benefits, it also fulfils the basic role of providing a habitat for a lot of animals such as squirrels. While this is part and parcel of nature, we need to understand what threats such animals pose for the forestry and its commercial viability". The Minister of State welcomed the Report stating "The Irish Squirrel Survey 2007 is therefore a useful and timely publication, given the need to not only prevent the grey squirrel from causing serious damage to our commercial broadleaved woodlands, and indeed amenity and urban wood lands but to address the conservation of our native red squirrel".

She added "The survey shows red squirrel numbers declining as a result of the spread of the grey. The survey also provides a very good basis for targeted measures to restore red squirrel populations" and referred to a pilot project currently being undertaken, with funding from her Department, on the protection of the broadleaf estate and matters relating to the red and grey squirrels.

The Minister of State also thanked everybody who took the time to respond to the Squirrel survey, and the many organisations, both statutory and voluntary, which contributed to the compilation of the report.

9 October, 2007

Date Released: 09 October 2007