Comments by Mr. John Sheahan, current chairman of Limerick County Council are being reacted to strongly by the public at home and abroad:
The Hen Harrier is an extremely endangered piece of Irish natural heritage. The link between the people and the bird is stronger in Ireland than anywhere else in its range in that we cannot have one without the other. The Hen Harrier in Ireland lives mainly on extensive farmland. When we lose people and local rural communities and when non-native commercial monoculture forestry moves in, the wildlife moves out. The Hen Harrier, as an indicator species, is representative of the overall health of our landscape as if we do not have all the other animals and birds that share the countryside, we will not have Hen Harriers.
Since 2007, the Irish government has operated a scheme rewarding farmers for maintaining and creating Hen Harrier habitat, while farmers in Natura 2000 lands like Hen Harrier Special Protection Areas have been given priority access to the Agri-Environmental Options Scheme.