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Fine Gael Councillor calling for cull of Ireland's rarest wild mammal
05 October 2017

Shame on Fine Gael Councillor Tom Farrell who is calling for a cull of Ireland's rarest wild mammal, the pine marten. At the September meeting of Athlone Municipal District, Cllr Farrell demonised the animal, claiming that a pine marten (a shy, elusive creature which typically avoids humans) had broken into his home and scared his grandchildren.

“I will tell you it was a frightening experience," Cllr Farrell declared. "They have such long nails and I am not easily frightened, however, even my [adult] son was so afraid. To see the length of the nails on the Pine Marten...we were terrified they would harm the children."

"I don't know what would have been the consequences if there had been a baby in my sitting room," he was quick to add.

Cllr Farrell's claimed terror of being attacked by a creature which is of a similar size to a pet cat (hence the Irish name "Cat Crainn") is baseless. As confirmed by the Irish Wildlife Trust, there are "no recorded incidents" of pine martens attacking humans. "To suggest pine martens would be breaking into people’s houses to attack babies is alarmist and irresponsible," IWT spokesperson Billy Flynn is on recorad as saying.

The Athlone Topic reported that Cllr Farrell and his son "happily managed" to get the pine marten out of the house.

It later emerged that Cllr Farrell's desire to see Ireland's rarest mammal stripped of its protected status and culled is linked to sympathy he holds for local gun clubs which blame pine martens for killing the birds that they want to blast out of the sky.

On Shannonside Radio, Cllr Farrell stated: "What I'm mainly looking for is that a proper cull is carried out...You ask any gun club in the midlands. [Pine martens] wreak havoc on gun clubs - they're trying to rear pheasants for the shooting season and whatnot."

Last year, another Fine Gael Councillor (Longford's Paraic Brady) blamed the pine marten for killing two of his sheep and bizarelly predicted that a baby would be attacked in its cot. It later came to light that Brady is a member of a gun club and that, like Cllr Tom Farrell, he is concerned about pheasants being killed.

It has been reported that members of Athlone Municiapl District voted unanimously in support of Cllr Farrell's motion which "formally requests the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Culture, Ms. Heather Humphreys TD, in conjunction with the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), to remove this species from the Protected List so that it’s [sic] population can be controlled in keeping with good practice and in the best interests of other wildlife species and society generally." Shame on them all!!


Urge Minister Humphreys and the NPWS to ignore Athlone Municipal District's disgraceful request.

Email "Keep pine martens protected" to,,,,
Tel: +353 (0)1 631 3802 or +353 (0)1 631 3800
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Ask Councillor Tom Farrell to withdraw his ridiculous request for a pine marten cull.
Phone: 086-6012476 or 086 0274848

Sign and share the petition - Keep pine martens protected by Irish legislation

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