13/09/2013: Prestigious award for Burren farmers and conservationists
- This is first time a European Diploma of Protected Areas Award has been given in Ireland
- Ireland now one of 28 European countries which hold prestigious award
Friday 13th September 13th – Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, will accept Ireland’s first ever ‘European Diploma of Protected Areas Award’ from the Council of Europe for the sustainable management of the Burren.
Professor Michael Usher, Chairman of the Group of Specialists for the European Diploma of Protected Areas, will present the award to Minister Deenihan in the Michael Cusack Centre, Carron, Co Clare. This is the first time the award has been made to a region in Ireland.
Created in 1965, this prestigious award recognises the work being undertaken to conserve some of Europe’s most outstanding natural and semi-natural areas. To date, 72 Diplomas have been awarded and are held in 28 European countries.
On 10 July 2013, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decided to award the European Diploma for Protected Areas to the Burren. This recognises the European significance of the area, which has remarkable natural values, a rich flora and fauna, an important cultural heritage, traditional socio-economic activities and good management. The Diploma is initially awarded for a period of five years, after which it can be renewed for further periods of 10 years.
The award was welcomed by local farm leader Michael Davoren who said it was “a testament to what could be achieved when organisations worked together with mutual respect towards a common goal”.
Speaking in advance of the presentation, the Minister commented
“I am delighted to accept this Diploma on behalf of Ireland and the people of the Burren. Sometimes designation is seen as a restriction or as a burden. The vision and co-operation of a passionate group of people here has changed this perception. It is clear that, with the correct supports, this model can be rolled out elsewhere in Ireland, to positive effect.
“The partnership approach here has numerous positive spinoffs resulting in environmentally friendly farming, sustainable tourism, improved education and awareness, protection of nature and archaeology, trust building, local empowerment and the maintenance of vibrant local communities.
“We need to build on the work here in the years ahead. The Burren is an example of best practice in Ireland and across Europe. I would like to pay particular tribute to the people who work behind the scenes in the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme, the Burren Connect project, the Burrenbeo Trust, the Burren IFA, the County Councils, Teagasc, The Heritage Council and of course to the staff of my department and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. I am proud to accept this award on their behalf, and on behalf of Ireland”.
Photography available from Eamon Ward: