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More funds provided to tackle scourge of rhodo

Men at work: Tim Cahillane, NPWS (left) and George Kelly, Men’s Sheds Association (centre) with Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce members Paul O’Neill, Johnny McGuire and Finbarr Kennelly, volunteering for a rhododendron clearance project in Killarney National Park.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

STATE funding is to be provided for a comprehensive survey, overseen by Kerry County Council, to facilitate the prevention, early detection and rapid eradication and management of rhododendron ponticum in Killarney National Park and other problem spots in the county.

The rapidly spreading invasive alien species,which has caused havoc in the park for years, has also impacted on the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Caragh River Catchment special area of conservation as well as the UNESCO Kerry Biosphere Reserve and the MacGillycuddy Reeks European Innovation Partnership Project area.

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, today announced that over €1.35 million will be made available for a number projects nationwide which tackle invasive species and to carry out actions in the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021.

Diarmaid Griffin: Welcomed the survey funding

The scheme, operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, offers funding to assist local authority biodiversity officers and heritage officers in local authorities without a biodiversity officer with the implementation of projects that promote actions contained in the plan.

Green Party representative for Killarney, Diarmaid Griffin, said it is great to biodiversity getting such a boost, particularly in Kerry.

“Fortunate as we are to have a national park in Killarney, work and funding is needed to maintain a healthy ecosystem,” he said.

“Rhododendron is the biggest threat to the number of plants and animals that the national park can protect. It was introduced over 200 years ago and has spread as a noxious weed ever since,” he added.