The MLA for Strangford said that not only was Mr Shannon wrong – a statement now backed by the RSPB – but that he was playing on the concerns of some to feed an agenda to widen out hunting laws.
“From the outset I want to be clear – I am totally opposed to any widening of licensing that would allow people to go out and shoot birds of prey. But that’s not what the major issue is here,” said Kellie Armstrong MLA.
“I have to admit I am extremely shocked that Jim is continuing with a line that has been proven to be factually incorrect by experts and I would urge him to stop and clarify his mistake as soon as possible.
“There are controls in place to protect these birds because they are already endangered. These ill-thought-out comments have the potential to lead to irreparable damage to endangered and protected species.
“As a person in a position of power, I ask that Jim reflect on his actions immediately and if he is still unsure take the necessary steps to educate himself before it is too late.”