Series 26, Episode 14
TACKLING WILDLIFE POACHERS
Wildlife criminals, including deer poachers and gangs capturing wild birds for sale abroad, are pillaging the Irish countryside. Poaching is becoming more and more high tech with equipment such as infrared telescopic sights on rifles, and GPS, allowing gangs to kill up to 10 deer a night which can then be sold for hundreds of euro. Other animals caught illegally include hares, wild birds and badgers.
Now An Garda Siochana is starting to train officers in a bid to tackle this crime. Ella McSweeney spent the day with Gardaí as they go through their training, and joins them on an night-time operation in Wicklow.
LEITRIM FLOWER FARM
The rushy meadows of Co. Leitrim are probably the last place you would expect to find a flower farm, but that is what Ciarán and Kealin Beattie have established on their 12 acres near Carrick on Shannon. The couple decided to downsize and moved from Dublin to a holiday cottage in Leitrim. Their passion for nature inspired the idea of fresh native Irish flowers as an alternative to roses flown from half way round the world.
Horticulturist Ciaran has transformed the boggy fields around the cottage into a productive set of flower beds that blossom for ten months of the year. Kealin sells the gorgeous bouquets at the weekly farmers’ markets in Carrick on Shannon, and the couple also provide fresh flower arrangements for weddings and functions.
They also run courses in native flower growing, and encourage local groups to set up similar local flower businesses around the country. Fellow flower farmer Darragh McCullough meets Ciaran and Kealin as they harvest their colourful crop in the summer.
In 2004, beef farmers Noel and Joan Farrell moved from their home farm in Waterford to Golden, Co. Tipperary. However, despite being efficient beef farmers, the farm was not enough to support their family.
So the couple bought some goats and established a milking goat herd. They send their milk to fellow Tipperary farmer and cheesemaker Breda Maher in Cooleeney Cheese, who herself developed the business to improve the income on the family dairy farm.
Helen Carroll visits the Farrell farm and finds out how the couple are cutting the carbon footprint of their beef enterprise and adding value to their goats’ milk.
Ear to the Ground, Thursday 7th February, 7pm RTÉ One. Repeat 13.10pm Sunday 10th February.
Produced by indiepics for RTÉ.
Ann Coughlan 00 353 87 6778045
Pauline Cronin 00 353 87 2629967