News 2015

Title: Irish Uplands Forum Workshop
System Date: 07/07/2015

Irish Uplands Forum Workshop, Glencree, Co. Wicklow

Mountaineering Ireland was delighted to be part and support the excellent event organised by the Irish Uplands Forum (IUF) in the Glencree Reconciliation Centre, Co. Wicklow, yesterday, the 6th July 2015. The workshop on biodiversity and uplands farming was attended by a very large grouping of farmers from across the island of Ireland, by planners, NGOs and local rural development partnerships. The purpose of the event was to unpack Department of Agriculture proposals for locally-led agri-environmental schemes. This follows on from work in which Mountaineering Ireland was centrally involved in 2014 in terms of submissions by the National Uplands Working Group for the sustainable management of the Irish uplands under the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) from 2014 to 2020.

The proposed locally-led agri-environmental schemes under the RDP are currently being developed by the Department of Agriculture and the purpose of yesterday’s event was to review the potential to support biodiversity and farm incomes. The event was organised by the IUF to bring together upland farmers, ecologists and policy makers to consider the scope and objectives of such a scheme for the uplands.

Participation and input from everyone attending was welcomed and encouraged to inform this early stage of its development. Key questions to be asked are: What should the objectives be? How can success be measured? What can farmers do to deliver better biodiversity? IUF’s aims in organising the meeting are 1) to ensure all important groups are fully involved in developing the scheme 2) when the scheme is operational, that upland groups will network with each other.

Inputs were welcomed from the IUF, the Wicklow Uplands Council, Department of Agriculture, National Parks and Wildlife Service, the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism and from the Burren. Most importantly it included input from local upland farmers farming on the Dublin Wicklow border. This is an area extensively used by hillwalkers and other recreational users. The on-site discussions focused on biodiversity and farming issues and how such areas could be sustained. The need for effective support measures to enable farmers to sustainably manage upland areas, including commonages, was a major theme for the day.

The afternoon workshop sessions looked at how local upland fora could prepare and structure applications for a locally led uplands agri-environmental scheme.

Mountaineering Ireland offers warm congratulations to its colleagues in the Irish Uplands Forum, Mary Tubridy and Dorothy-Ellen White in particular, for organising a very productive, energetic and useful workshop.



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