Protecting the Irish bee deserves everyone’s support



Ireland’s honey bee was believed by many to be extinct and hopes that it might survive in the wild have been dismissed.

Apis mellifera mellifera, known as the black bee in Ireland, is threatened with extinction in northern Europe, having been lost in many countries due to the importation of other types of honey bees by beekeepers.

However, research at NUI Galway has shown that our native bee is alive and well, both in hives and in the wild.

Our wild colonies survive for several years despite the presence of varroa which has caused
colonies to collapse all over the world, indicating that some bees have developed a tolerance to the
parasite here in Ireland. The dark bee is well adapted to life in Ireland, having evolved and adapted there over thousands of years.

However, the increase in imports into Ireland of bees from abroad threatens the survival of this bee.

Recent genetic and morphological work on wild colonies in Galway and Clare showed that around 30% of those tested were hybrids between our native bee and imported bees – a big change from the previous three years.

Of 100 swarms captured by Open Hive on the east coast, 75 were non-native bees. Imported bees mate with native bees and upset the delicate balance fine-tuned by thousands of years of evolution.

All the adaptations that make the dark bee suitable for life in Ireland are disrupted and the unique genetic traits of the dark bee are lost. Once genetic diversity is lost, it is lost forever. Imported bees also bring diseases, that’s how varroa got here, and now we fear the arrival of the small hive beetle.

American and European foulbrood are becoming increasingly common, along with a myriad of other viruses.

It’s time to stop honey bee imports before the genetic integrity of our native black bee is destroyed forever. The Native Irish Honey Bee Society has been fighting for years for the protection of this bee. With the help of the Climate Bar Association, Green Party Senator Vincent Martin was able to submit a new bill for consideration by our government. The Irish Honey Bee Protection Bill was introduced to Seanad in October 2021 and was read to Seanad for the second time on Thursday. This bill is supported by all beekeeping bodies on the island of Ireland and deserves the support of our government and the people.

Professor Grace McCormack


Russian troops guard an entrance to the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, a run-of-river power station on the Dnieper River in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, Friday, May 20, 2022. Photo: AP Photo

War used as reason for abandoning neutrality

It is both surprising and alarming that the Irish Examiner calls for an increase in EU military aid to Ukraine, not least because your editorial seems to allude to the need for Ireland to supply arms ( ‘Irish Examiner View: Two Steps Back with Russian Oil Ban’ June 1).

Fortunately, our longstanding and well-supported policy of neutrality means that we cannot and will not provide lethal aid.

Unfortunately, EU countries that are also members of NATO are determined to keep the war going, as is the United States, of course, and will continue to stoke the war with guns and ammunition. That’s a shame. It is also unfortunate that the war in Ukraine is being used as a reason for Ireland to abandon neutrality.

There are clearly those in this country who are committed to Ireland’s full integration into EU defense agreements and eventual NATO membership.

Fortunately, the majority of Irish people disagree.

Dominique Carroll


Co Cork

Misguided method of housing Ukrainians

In March 2022 my family pledged shared accommodation for at least six months in our family home in South Co Dublin with the Irish Red Cross (IRC),

The area has excellent access to transportation, education, recreation and employment opportunities. In short, we received two phone calls from the IRC. The second call, over five weeks ago now, was asking if we could pick people up within three days. Both times we confirmed room availability.

At the beginning of May, we independently welcomed a Ukrainian family (two adults) into our home and we enjoy welcoming them and getting to know them. Both work and we get to know their culture. We met them through our volunteering in a local Ukrainian support project. We know hundreds of other families are doing the same, many thanks to the support of a volunteer-run matching group called Helping Irish Hosts. To be honest, many, including us, have lost patience with the IRC/pledge system.

The seemingly exclusive and continued emphasis on prioritizing self-catering hosting is misguided for many reasons. It also has unintended consequences.

This undermines the wave of goodwill provided by the thousands of shared accommodation pledges.

Furthermore, viewing self-catering accommodation as inevitably superior to shared accommodation misses the value of the rich tapestry of support that a host family will often provide to their guests and, indeed, the cultural exchange. both parties can benefit from.

It also puts unnecessary pressure on hotel accommodation, with potential impacts on our important tourism industry – and such heavy use costs the state large sums of money.

As a result, more Ukrainians are unnecessarily placed in unsuitable short-term group accommodation.

The lengthy hotel-type accommodation process certainly risks institutionalizing individuals and undermining their autonomy. Finally, as the IRC found, the vast majority of self-catering accommodation offerings are in remote areas with limited accessible services.

In sum, we now have over 15,000 Ukrainians in hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts while thousands of potential hosts, months after signing up, may be beginning to reconsider their promises.

Liam O’Sullivan


Co Dublin

Photos of Layla Salazar are displayed on a table in her home in Uvalde, Texas, Thursday, May 26, 2022. Layla Salazar was one of 19 children and their two teachers who were shot behind a barricaded door at Robb Elementary School.  Photo: AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills
Photos of Layla Salazar are displayed on a table in her home in Uvalde, Texas, Thursday, May 26, 2022. Layla Salazar was one of 19 children and their two teachers who were shot behind a barricaded door at Robb Elementary School. Photo: AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

The American problem is not the weapons but the Senate

The biggest problem in America isn’t guns, it’s the Senate. Two senators from Wyoming, representing 581,348 Americans, have the same voting power as two senators from California representing 39.5 million.

A senator’s vote from Wyoming is worth almost 50 times the vote of a senator from California. Someone here is drunk on their power – and that addiction means the country is no longer a functioning democracy.

However, the American people have the right to repeal any amendment to their constitution. Their politicians can push for a national referendum on the Second Amendment.

If Republican senators are convinced that the majority of American voters will want to continue with the right to bear arms, with the school shootings, then they (and their sponsors in the NRA) should have nothing to fear that anything will change. and will happily shun a buccaneer to prevent a national vote on the matter.

Alison Hackett

Dun Laoghaire

Co Dublin

Members of the public in line at Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport, Dublin, this week.
Members of the public in line at Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport, Dublin, this week.

Discourage early arrival for flights

Having recently experienced the panic, frustration and anxiety of queuing for a flight at Dublin Airport, can I offer a simple suggestion?

The Daa could introduce a system whereby people are actively discouraged from arriving too early for their flights and are only allowed to join the security queue at an agreed time (e.g. two and a half hours before their departure).

Airport officials could monitor access to the queue by simply checking the passenger’s flight time details.

Ironically, the current problem at the airport is compounded by people arriving very early for their flights (quite understandable given the current chaotic scenario).

However, these passengers clog the queues and prevent passengers who travel earlier from getting through security in time for their flights. Clearly, this proposed scheme should be accompanied by adequate, appropriate, and security Daa-secured staffing levels, but in conjunction with this improvement, it should allow for a much smoother and less stressful experience for everyone involved. It is definitely worth trying.

Sinéad Boland


Co Wicklow

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