The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today launched the MacGillycuddy Reeks Project, a locally-led agriculture Project funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. This project – Sustainable Agricultural Plan for the MacGillycuddy Reeks – is one of 23 European Innovation Partnership (EIP) projects co-funded by the Department under its Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.
The aim of the project is to develop practical, achievable actions and innovative solutions to address the issues facing farmers in the MacGillycuddy Reeks. This will be achieved through the development of a four-year pilot locally led agri-environmental scheme, to restore, preserve and enhance the biodiversity of this unique Natura 2000 area. Almost €1 million has been allocated by the Department to the Project.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Creed commented that “By having locally-designed and led schemes enables greater flexibility in responding to the particular environmental challenges in different areas”. He commented that, including this Kerry project, 6 upland EIPs were now being funded under the current RDP and he highlighted the opportunity to share knowledge and learning experiences among these groups. Commending the involvement of local farmers in the project he concluded by saying that “the contribution they are making through their actions will improve not only their own local environment and communities, but through dissemination of the outcomes of this project they will play an even larger role throughout the country”.
The project is led by South Kerry Development Partnership CLG. It also includes local farmers, personnel from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Institute of Technology Tralee, MacGillycuddy Reeks farm advisors, Kerry County Council and local community group representatives.