Dáil Éireann Written Answers 04/04/17 – Department of Defence – Airfield Harvesting

Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)

698. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the Air Corps at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel receives moneys from the annual harvesting of silage on the airbase; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16654/17]

Paul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)

I have been advised by the Military Authorities that the Air Corps operate a ‘safe grass’ policy in order to reduce the hazards posed on the airfield in Baldonnel by bird populations. This policy is an integral part of the wider bird control management program, which is line with best international practices and seeks to reduce the risk of bird strikes during critical phases of flight.

The airfield at Baldonnel is cultivated with FESCUE grass which was specifically sown and grown to prevent birds landing and nesting in the grass and thereby being a hazard to the aircraft. A contractor is hired to top the grass at a height of 9 inches throughout the growing season. The clippings are returned. The frequent topping of the grass and the return of clippings are required to produce an appropriate level of soil fertility to support adequate grass growth. The crop type does not have the nutrient needs for grazed cattle silage and the clippings are required to maintain nutrient levels in the soil.

Accordingly, the Air Corps receive no funding from the annual harvesting of silage on the airbase. As there is no harvesting of silage, the issue of income from harvesting does not arise.

Minister Paul Kehoe T.D. again misrepresents the truth. Is Minister Kehoe misleading in his answers to parliamentary questions or are the Irish Army Air Corps misleading the Minister? Someone is giving misleading answers that is for sure.

Photos below taken in the past week and posted on an Air Corps related Facebook page.

This last photo taken 13th May 2017

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