Donegal landowner fined for damaging Freshwater Pearl Mussel habitat

A County Donegal landowner has been found guilty of damaging the habitat of Freshwater Pearl Mussel and fined a total of €16,500.

The case was brought against Mr Richard Homer of Orchard Drive, Donegal town, by the National Parks and Wildlife Service after Mr Homer cleared vegetation, disturbed the bank of the River Eske in Milltown, Donegal and dug a number of drains to the river.

The works carried out by Mr Homer resulted in significant sedimentation to the river which led to the deaths of hundreds of Freshwater Pearl Mussels and significant stress on those that survived.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges at Donegal District Court on June 13th.

He was found guilty of wilfully disturbing the breeding and resting place of a protected wild animal, using a mechanically propelled vehicle in the commissioning of an offence, and of causing significant damage to a European site.

He was fined €3,000 for each offence and ordered to pay €2,500 towards a restoration plan for the site along with €5,000 in costs.

Freshwater Pearl Mussel are a critically and increasingly endangered and protected species. The River Eske is one of the most important rivers in Europe for the species.

Minister Malcolm Noonan has welcomed the conviction.


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