In October 2000 I launched a species action plan for the Irish hare. The action plan will be implemented by a partnership, which will include the Ulster Wildlife Trust, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and my Department’s Environment and Heritage Service. The plan deals with the decline, over the past three decades, in the number of hares in Northern Ireland. The action points in the plan includes the completion of a repeat survey of hares. The Environment and Heritage Service will commission this work once the current restrictions caused by the foot-and-mouth-disease outbreak have been lifted. When I have assessed the repeat survey and the impact of the other three measures in the species action plan, I will consider what further steps, if any, need to be taken.