29/09/2014 : Protecting our natural heritage helps to create and sustain jobs in the regions – Minister Humphreys
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, today (Monday, 29 September) addressed the Europarc 2014 Annual Conference at the Malton Hotel in Killarney. More than 250 delegates from across Europe are attending the four day event, the theme of which is ‘Understanding the Value of Nature’.
Following her address at the Europarc Conference, Minister Humphreys visited Killarney House to observe the major restoration project which is being undertaken there. The multi-million euro project, which is being supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, is expected to be completed in early 2015, and will serve as a major visitor attraction. The Minister also visited Muckross House yesterday (Sunday) evening, where she received a guided tour and met with the Trustees.
Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:
“It is fitting that this major conference is taking place in Killarney, home to Ireland’s premier National Park. Investing in and understanding the value of our natural heritage is incredibly important. Natural assets such as Killarney National Park are not only a great source of national price, they also play a huge role in our tourism industry.”
“Part of my job is to work to conserve our natural heritage, raise its profile, and bring about a better understanding of how nature can create and sustain jobs, and positively contribute to our economic recovery.
“I am a strong believer in the notion that investing in our natural heritage is a great way of stimulating balanced regional development. The ever growing popularity of outdoor and adventure tourism provides huge opportunities which we can maximise through the careful management and promotion of our national parks and reserves.
“Investing in our protected areas in a sustainable way supports job creation, by allowing local businesses to prosper thanks to increased visitor numbers in their areas. It is important, of course, to state that this much be done in a way which protects and conserves our natural heritage.
“Over the coming days, experts from across Europe will discuss the range of opportunities and challenges we face as we strive to better understand the value of nature. As Minister, I am committed to preserving our natural heritage in a sustainable and jobs friendly way.”