Killarney National Park in the PRESS.

Irish Examiner Jan 04 2017: Eamon Ryan backs removal of Killarney National Park’s Unesco status

Green party leader Eamon Ryan has backed the call on Unesco by the Irish Wildlife Trust to have world biosphere reserve status withdrawn from Killarney National Park. MORE…

3rd January 2017: Call for Kerry TDs to work harder to ensure Killarney National Park doesn’t lose UNESCO status

The leader of the Green Party says Kerry TDs should be working harder to ensure Killarney National Park doesn’t lose its UNESCO status.

Eamon Ryan was speaking after the Irish Wildlife Trust called on UNESCO to suspend the Biosphere Reserve Status given to the park in 1982, saying the National Parks and Wildlife Service is failing to manage Killarney National Park.

Part of this status requires the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems and species but the Irish Wildlife Trust says this isn’t being achieved.

Leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan says the five Kerry TDs should be working hard to lobby Minister Heather Humphreys to ensure the status isn’t lost. SOURCE Radio Kerry

Green Party 2nd Jan 2017: Greens: Minister must act to protect Killarney National Park’s UNESCO status

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.”

SOURCE Green Party Newsletter

28th December 2016: Irish Wildlife Trust informs Unesco that Co Kerry lands have issues with invasive species.

A wildlife group has asked a United Nations body to suspend the designation of Killarney National Park as a biosphere reserve.

Irish Wildlife Trust made the request to Unesco – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – and expressed concern about the management of the 10,129 hectare park’s woodlands and deer, and due to threats posed by invasive species.

Biosphere reserves are a network of more than 600 places of unique ecological and cultural status across more than 100 countries.

The trust said Killarney had failed to maintain standards of conservation and protection and it should be forced to reapply for the designation which is used to promote the park.

The park, given the designation in 1982, is managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Surrounding moorland – the subject of wildfires in recent years – also comes within the designation*.

Culling

In its formal complaint to Unesco, the trust says Killarney has not lived up to its status. It cites long running concerns about issues such as the culling of “the unique red deer population, the spread of alien invasive species and overgrazing by herbivores, including domestic animals”.

The trust also notes that periodic reviews, which should be carried out every 10 years, have not been undertaken.

“People rightly look highly on Unesco for the work it does in protecting global heritage and assume that places which carry its name are maintained to the highest standards. In the case of Killarney National Park this clearly is not the case,” it wrote.

SOURCE: Irish Times

June 2014:Volunteers: Killarney Park faces ‘grim and uncertain future’ if destructive plant not dealt with

Volunteers: Killarney Park faces ‘grim and uncertain future’ if destructive plant not dealt with

A petition has been set up calling on Minister Deenihan to ensure the park becomes clear of the rhododendron plant.

A GROUP OF conservation volunteers have accused Killarney National Park of allowing a weed that threatens the ecology of the park to spread.

Groundwork is a voluntary environmental organisation that was established in 1981.

Most of Groundwork’s focus has been on the removal of the invasive Rhododendron ponticum from Killarney National Park in Kerry.

The plant out-competes native species for space and resources through its almost complete shading of the ground.

The group stopped working in the park in 2009 after its methods were no longer deemed acceptable by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

The NPWS wanted to only use herbicides to deal with the rhododendron.

Coordinator with Groundwork, Trevor Halpin, told TheJournal.ie that “from 1981 to 2005 40% of the oakwoods were cleared and maintained clear of rhododendron by Groundwork.

If the years of volunteer work by Groundwork is not followed up immediately in a thorough and systematic way by National Park and Wildlife Service, then oak woods of KNP face a grim and uncertain future.

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan responded to questions in the Dáil from Independent TD Thomas Pringle this week about the Department’s role in managing the invasive plant.

Minister Deenihan said: “since 2011 nearly €500,000 has been invested in this work and for this year I have allocated a further €100,000 to Killarney National Park for the management of this plant.

Approximately 3,000 of the 10,000 hectares in the Park were, to some extent, affected by Rhododendron infestation. My Department’s management programme has made significant inroads into the problem and now approximately 2,000 of those hectares, involving some 40 different sites, are under effective control.

“Ultimately, the plan is to clear all rhododendron from Killarney National Park. The annual rhododendron management programme is intended to create conditions in the Park that are conducive to the protection and re-establishment of native species and, particularly, our native woodlands.”

Halpin said that the most recent report taken by Groundwork has shown that areas of Killarney National Park are becoming overgrown again.

Save Killarney Oak Woods say that its aim is to pressure the Minister and NPWS to ensure Killarney oak woods are saved through thorough and systematic removal of rhododendron.

They have recently published a video showing the growth of plant in Killarney National Park.

SOURCE: The Journal http://www.thejournal.ie/plant-killarney-park-1521769-Jun2014/