Kilkenny County Council signs up to ambitious bee-friendly plan

Cathaoirleach Cllr. Eamon Aylward & Chief Executive Colette Byrne sign framework agreement (photo Pat Moore)

Kilkenny County Council signs up to ambitious bee-friendly plan
Leading the way in pollinator protection, Kilkenny becomes Ireland’s first local authority to officially partner with All-Ireland Pollinator Plan

At a ceremony on Monday March 4th, Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr. Eamon Aylward and Chief Executive Colette Byrne signed a framework agreement with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan to formalise Kilkenny County Councils long term commitment to support pollinators in County Kilkenny.
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is a cross-sector initiative, led by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, with local authorities, farmers, businesses, schools and local communities to support pollinators such as bees. Ireland depends on pollinating insects to pollinate our crops, fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, many of our pollinators are now threatened with extinction.

At the signing Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Eamon Aylward said “We are delighted to be the first Local Authority in the country to sign up to the Pollinator Plan. Last summer the Council adopted the garden bumblee as our emblem, so this agreement is an obvious next step for us. There’s much better awareness now about the plight of the bees, and the fact that all of us, including County Councils, can do something to help them.”

Solitary Bee (Courtesy of National            Biodiversity Data Centre

According to Chief Executive Colette Byrne “There isn’t an instant solution to the decline of the bees, but as a Local Authority we can play a small but important role in helping them. We’ll start by looking at the services we provide such as public parks, road maintenance, and community grants and supports, to see what actions we can take which will help pollinators. This is a long game, but one we’re happy to commit to.”

Speaking about this new partnership with Kilkenny County Council, Dr Úna FitzPatrick, All-Ireland Pollinator Plan founder and Project Coordinator, said “This is such an exciting step. We have witnessed so much positive action by individuals and local communities around the country, and so many councils have made changes to the way they manage their parks and public lands – to make them more pollinator-friendly. We are thrilled that Kilkenny have become the first Council partner to the plan. Kilkenny has really supported the plan from the very beginning, and the Kilkenny Heritage Office has created some really impressive awareness campaigns, particularly to communicate the plan in local schools and Tidy Towns groups.”

Dearbhala Ledwidge, Heritage Officer with Kilkenny County Council   ”There’s huge interest from the public in pollinators and an awareness that we have to take action now. I’m very proud that Kilkenny County Council is taking a lead on this, and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues, communities and organisations in the coming years on this. The actions we take will have consequences long into the future”.