Minister Humphreys backtracks on previous assertions concerning Killarney National Park - Lynn Boylan MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has again criticised the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, concerning the lack of control of the invasive weed Rhododendron ponticum in the oakwoods of Killarney National Park. The woods lie within a Special Area of Conservation under Annex 1 of the EU Habitats Directive.
The MEP’s criticism comes in the wake of the Minister now requesting tenders for the provision of Rhododendron Eradication Management Services at Killarney National Park.
Ms Boylan said:
“I previously challenged the Minister about the level of essential maintenance of Killarney Oakwoods. Due to differences between Park Management and Groundwork, a voluntary environmental organisation, the essential maintenance of Killarney Oakwoods ceased in 2009. Despite promises from the national park management to continue the maintenance, Groundwork revisited the woods that had been designated clear in 2013 and found that re-infestation was occurring at an alarming pace.
The Minister has previously refused to meet with me concerning the issue and has been in complete denial that there were any issues with regard to the level of Rhododendron eradication at Killarney National Park.
I now note that only last week the Minister has issued a request for tenders for the provision of ‘Rhododendron Eradication Management Services including Programme Design, Implementation and Supervisory Services at Killarney National Park’. The Minister has clearly backtracked on her previous assertions.
As somebody who was involved in work at Killarney National Park for ten years, both as a volunteer and coordinator of Groundwork, and also as an ecologist, I am again requesting that the Minister meet with me and my fellow MEP Liadh NíRíada, to discuss this matter further”.