Ireland is home to eight species of Bat of which seven can be found in County Clare. The lesser horseshoe bat has been recorded at the woodland adjacent to Páirc na Coille retirement village. This particular Bat is seldom recorded in Ireland and can only be found in Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Roscommon, and Mayo which gives significant value and importance to the site. This woodland which is one of only three broadleaved wooded areas within a 2km radius of Ennis Town Center must be protected and a viable alternative sought by Clare County Council for development.
Bats are protected under the Wildlife Act 1976 and subsequent amendments under which it is an
offense to intentionally disturb their habitats. In addition to domestic legislation, bats are protected under the EU Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC. All bats are listed in Annex IV of this Directive and therefore their habitats must not be disturbed under articles 12 (b) and (d) as described above.
Clare County Council, if they proceed with the clearance and destruction of the native woodland adjacent to Páirc na Coille retirement will be in breach of E.U Law in the absence of a full E.I.A having been carried out at the site.
In the absence of a comprehensive environmental impact assessment, any planned development should be immediately halted and surveyors should carry out a full assessment on the area in its entirety, ensuring the bat population will not be adversely impacted by any planned development. The multiple bat species that roost and forage in this area are extremely sensitive to anthropogenic noise and light and the clearance of mature trees will more than likely have a detrimental impact on their chances of survival. The council have an obligation to preserve and protect the natural habitats of these extremely important animals from any unnecessary disturbance