A Member of Parliament, Jim Shannon from the DUP, described grey squirrels as the “Hamas of the squirrel world” during a debate in the parliament on Tuesday, November 28. Mr Shannon was speaking during the debate on the control of the grey squirrel population.
He said, “The Ards Red Squirrel Group is full of fantastic volunteers who work tirelessly to protect the future of the red squirrel in my constituency of Strangford, particularly at Mount Stewart.
“The organisation is led by the National Trust Mount Stewart ranger team, and they are in constant contact with local landowners to monitor red squirrels and eradicate any greys that venture in.
“Indeed, the issue is the very presence of grey squirrels – grey squirrels are the Hamas of the squirrel world,” the MP said.
Hamas was responsible for a deadly attack on Israel on October 7.
The MP went on to suggest that there should be “greater integration” between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and local red squirrel groups in the devolved institutions to ensure they have the “means necessary to preserve and expand the red squirrel species throughout Northern Ireland”.
The Independent reported that the grey squirrels from North America were introduced in the UK in the 1800s and are a major threat to native red squirrel populations.
Meanwhile, more hostages were freed from Gaza on Wednesday, as mediators raced to broker another extension to the truce between Israel and Hamas hours before it was due to expire.
Alongside emotional reunions, there were fresh reminders of the tragic stakes of the conflict.