Government Chief Whip and Kerry Senator Paul Coghlan has today (Wednesday) welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaelteacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, that a new Rhododendron control intiative will be put in place to bring the invasive species under control in Killarney National Park. Senator Coghlan was speaking on the order of business in the Seanad.
“I last raised this issue in May and I heartily welcome the Minister’s announcement that the ‘Adopt A Woodland in Killarney National Park’ initiative is to be incorporated into the 2015 Rhododendron Control Programme for Killarney National Park, following expressions of interest in the scheme in the autumn. It is very clear that there is much public support and the hope is to harness this support for the benefit of Killarney National Park.
“Many people do not realise the unique nature of the oak woods that exist at both Derrycunnihy and Tomies. There are two different types of oak, but the sessile oak is unique to Killarney and it is important that steps are taken to allow the trees to thrive into the future.
“I’d also like to commend the Killarney National Park Mountain Meitheal, which continues to do great work for the benefit of Ireland’s foremost national park.
“It is proposed that the scheme be made available to conservation groups, walking clubs, university groups and other interested organised groups. The woodlands that will be targeted for this scheme have already been cleared of mature Rhododendron; however it will be important over the coming years that low level maintenance work is carried out to ensure that small seedlings and saplings are removed. It is the intention that each group would be allocated an area of the park to monitor and make sure it is kept free from Rhododendron over the coming years.
“The project is to be operated through a volunteer charter in order to summarise the principles underpinning it, along with a summary of the expectations and commitments of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as well as the volunteer groups that will be involved"
“The Adopt A Woodland in Killarney National Park conservation project is truly wonderful and to be greatly welcomed.”