Senator Alice-Mary Higgins joins environmental groups voicing strong opposition to the Heritage Bill 2016

Leinster House was abuzz with beekeepers from across Ireland voicing strong opposition while the Heritage Bill was being debated in the Seanad on Thursday March 2nd. Beekeepers dressed in their full regalia were joined by tiny bees, birds from Birdwatch Ireland and supporters of the Irish Wildlife Trust, An Taisce and the Hedgelaying Association. 

This marks the third time that the Heritage Bill has been debated at committee stage in the Seanad, meeting strong opposition on each occasion. The debate will resume in a few weeks and Senator Higgins will continue to strongly oppose this flawed Bill, particularly Section 8 which would extend burning and cutting of uplands and hedgerows right into March and August - nesting season for many birds and a crucial time for bees to gather the pollen they need to make it throughout winter. 

Importantly, it is clear also that this Bill is nothing to do with road safety, as has been claimed by the Minister. Section 70 of the Road Traffic Act already permits hedge-cutting at any time of the year where road safety is a concern.

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Senator Higgins, Senator Lynn Ruane and others have called on parties in Government formation talks to take concrete steps to address racism in Ireland

We all need to be in solidarity with those taking a stand against racism right now in the United States. We also need to face up to and challenge racism here in Ireland. Myself, Senator Lynn Ruane and Senator Frances Black have sent a letter co-signed by 20 other members of the Oireachtas to the leaders of the three parties currently in Government formation talks calling on them resolutely reject racist policy and rhetoric and commit to real action on inclusion and equality. ... We believe the next programme for government must; * Legislate against Hate Crime * End Direct Provision * Legislate to reverse impact of 27th amendment and stop the deportation of Irish born children * Enact our Traveller Culture and History in Education Bill * Re-establish a National Anti-Racism Body.

It is also vital that those who have sought to exploit inflammatory and racist language for perceived political or electoral advantage are not given any part in government.