2nd January 2017 | Uncategorised

Greens: Minister must act to protect Killarney National Park’s UNESCO status

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Park is vital for local economy, and tourism and heritage nationally

The Green Party welcomed this week’s statement from the Irish Wildlife Trust which highlighted failures of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in managing Killarney National Park, which was Ireland’s first national park dating from 1932. This park received UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Biosphere Reserve Status in 1982, and part of this status requires that such areas conserve landscapes, ecosystems and species, which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable. The Green Party supports the view of the IWT that this is not being achieved, with regular culls of the unique Red Deer population, the lack of control of the spread of invasive species of vegetation, and overgrazing with domestic animal species. The IWT are calling on UNESCO to suspend this important status.

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD said today that protecting Killarney National Park’s UNESCO status was of vital importance to the local economy, and to tourism and heritage in Ireland, and the Minister should take all necessary steps to address the issues raised by the IWT.

“Killarney National Part is vital, not only to our country’s heritage, but also to our tourism industry and the many local jobs it supports. Tourism in Ireland was at an all-time high in 2016, bringing €8billion into our economy, particularly benefiting rural areas, and if Killarney National Park were to lose its UNESCO status, it would be devastating to the area and small business people. The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys should take immediate steps to ensure that this does not happen, and the five Kerry TDs should be working hard to lobby the Minister to ensure this unique park status is not lost and with it an invaluable source of local employment. Part of the Dublin Mountains was saved from being sold earlier this year by a campaign launched by the Green Party. We would like to see something similar happen in Killarney to protect its vital UNESCO status.”