Saving Frogs (and a Village) in Ireland

We recently received an e-mail from Laurence Stafford, who lives in a small village called Parteen in County Clare, Ireland. A highway is being proposed that will cut through his village, destroying the habitat of the Irish Common Frog (Rana temporaria).

Photo courtesy www.doeni.gov.uk

Laurence’s e-mail highlights the problem of habitat destruction. What does it matter that frogs are losing their habitat in one small area of Ireland? Unfortunately this type of habitat loss is occurring across the globe: it is one of the reasons for the rapid worldwide amphibian decline. Of course, having a highway cut through a village will have enormous human costs as well.

The story is as follows: there is a joint venture between Limerick County Council and Clare County Council underway to build a highway costing over 352 million euros that will connect Galway to the University of Limerick. The highway will cut through Parteen village.

The Environmental Group of Parteen has warned the emerging preferred route crosses rural farmland, which is home to a protected species, Rana Temporaria. Although this species is fairly plentiful in Ireland, it is protected under an EU directive because of its declining numbers in Europe. The directive aims to protect some 220 habitats and lists approximately 1,000 species, including the frog.

This road will also divide a peaceful and tranquil village in two; the proposed volume of traffic is estimated at 20,000 to 30,000 cars, which calculates at 210,000 a month and 2,520,000 a year passing through a small community.

As reported in the Clare Champion, the group’s concerns are shared by Councillor Pascal Fitzgerald, who is disappointed with the planning of the new road, which he claims will divide settled communities and destroy their living environment: “Even people who have no connections with the area are asking why areas that have been ideal for living in are now to virtually have their heart cut out.”

We hope that the local county councils will rethink this route, both to preserve the frogs’ habitat – so important in this time of declining amphibian populations worldwide – but also to preserve the integrity of the village of Parteen.

Here is more information. Ecoparteen’s Twitter feed is here. Please lend your support!