The Mannin Branch Celtic League Secretary, Allen Moore, has written to the Chief Minister to express reservations about the DEFA plans to revisit the issue of the importation of red squirrels.
The text of his letter is set out below:
I was disappointed to read the news that DEFA are now wanting to introduce what is described as an ‘experimental’ small number of red squirrels into the Isle of Man.
The idea has been extensively discussed over the years at both Government and Department level by Ministers Gawne, Ronan and, following a Tynwald Question by Mr Moorhouse in 2017, by Minister Boot. The Government published a news item in June 2016 to say that red squirrels will not be introduced into the Isle of Man.
This Government news item included the statement:
“However, after studying all the views submitted, and given the strong opinions of the scientific organisations and groups who responded, DEFA concluded that it would be detrimental to the countryside to introduce them.”
Nothing has changed since June 2016 to make the introduction of this alien species appropriate now. UK Prime Minister Johnson has said of calls for Scottish Independence following the Brexit Referendum in June 2016 that the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum was a ‘Once in a Generation’ opportunity to vote on the issue. Surely the Manx Government should draw a line under discussions of introducing red squirrels into the Isle of Man and state that such discussions have also been a ‘Once in a Generation’ opportunity. Indeed, for a Government Department to be discussing the idea of introduction yet again would seem to be bad governance, a waste of Departmental time and taxpayer money.
Following scientific advice has stood you and your Government in good stead in dealing with the Covid 19 crisis, for which we are all grateful. Scientific advice by, for example, the Manx Wildlife Trust should also continue to be followed in stopping the misguided plan to introduce the red squirrel into the Island, and DEFA should move onto much more important issues.
Mannin Branch Secretary,
Image: Inset Allen Moore Celtic League Mannin Branch Secretary.
(Posted 7th August 2020)