21.06.11 Burren LIFE Project receives ‘Best of the best’ Award for Ireland– Minister Deenihan
Jimmy Deenihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has congratulated the BurrenLIFE Project team and the local community on being presented with a prestigious award for the BurrenLIFE Project ‘Farming for Conservation in the Burren’. At a recent award ceremony in Brussels members of the Project partners were presented the award in recognition of the achievements of the Project in improving the conservation status of the Burren habitats and its long-term contribution to sustainability.
Minister Deenihan said: “this Project was selected by the Member States of the European Union as one of the top 6 “Best of the Best” LIFE Nature projects out of 59 projects assessed in 2010. This is the highest level of international recognition that it is possible for a LIFE Nature project to achieve within the framework of the EU LIFE Programme and a great honour for the country.”
“Great credit must go to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of my Department, who initiated the Project, the Project partners – Teagasc and the Burren IFA – and the BurrenLIFE team who so successfully steered the 5 year Project. It is deserving recognition also of the involvement, help, assistance and enthusiasm provided by the Burren farmers who participated in the Project, added Minister Deenihan.
The BurrenLIFE Project worked hand in hand with farmers, scientists and conservationists to develop a new model for farming the Burren in an environmentally friendly way that protects the habitats, flora, fauna and archaeological heritage, while ensuring that the farmers maintain a livelihood. The methods developed on the 20 farms participating in the Project are now being implemented on over 100 farms in a new partnership – the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme – with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. As a result, nearly 13,000ha of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in the Burren are being managed to improve their conservation status and it is hoped that this programme will be extended to additional farms in the future.
The Minister is also delighted to note that another LIFE Project, administered by Coillte with contributions from NPWS, entitled ‘Restoring Priority Woodland Habitats in Ireland’, was also among the top 6 to win an award. This Project has led to the restoration of 550ha of priority native woodland habitat SACs.