Half a million euro in funding has been allocated for a major clearance of Rhododendron from Connemara National Park over the next two years.
Works is expected to start on clearing the invasive species from over 300 acres of heath and bog within the park by the fourth quarter of this year.
Minister of State Malcolm Noonan highlighted that this project will create employment in the area over the next two years, and is also important for the health of Connemara National Park.
“Removing invasive species is challenging and labour-intensive work, but it’s critically important for the health of our ecosystems.”
“Rhododendron is an extremely invasive species. It is one of the biggest threats to peatlands in the West of Ireland and can colonise habitats, causing significant problems unless properly managed.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service will be advertising tenders for the project using the funding allocated by the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage.
John Sweeney, President of Connemara Chamber of Commerce and Karen Mannion, CEO of FORUM Connemara both welcomed the news.
“We are aware that similar work in 2020 provided employment to eight locals through the Farm Relief Service. It is tremendous to see this positive conservation work ongoing within the National Park, which is of significant benefit to both biodiversity and the community.”
“We look forward with anticipation to the delivery of this project, which will further enhance Connemara as a location to visit and as a place to live.”
Dr. Kevin Heanue of Connemara West said that it is great to see funding for the “ongoing challenge” of combating invasive species in the west.
“The National Park is a significant local asset not only in terms of the natural environment but also in terms of the contribution it makes to peoples’ quality of life.”
“Connemara West looks forward to working with the National Parks and Wildlife Service as they roll out their other planned ambitious initiatives in Connemara.”