Update from Heritage Office Cork CoCo …. something for all in there. Happy browsing!


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Tá súil agam go bhfuil cursaí go maith libh.

Plenty of news and updates in this April update and the applications are flying in under the County Cork Heritage Grant Scheme and Commemorations Grant Scheme – these schemes remain open until 17:00 on Thursday 14 April.

Speaking of closing dates, also a reminder that the Cork Schools Garden Competition closes to applications on Friday 15 April.

This month has seen the announcement of the National Tidy Towns Competition

and the launch of a wonderful exhibition on Spike Island as well as Cork County Council’s War of Independence and Civil War Exhibition, now on display in Bandon Library.

In relation to this email update, please note that it will be phased out over time with a move to a new platform for its delivery. Many of you have already subscribed for this new service and for those looking to do so, please subscribe by visiting the following link:

News and Event details now in full:

Cork County Council Announces the County Cork

Commemorations Grant and Heritage Grant Schemes 2022

In March, Cork County Council announced the opening of the County

Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme and the County Cork Heritage

Grant Scheme for 2022. These schemes seek to recognise the unrivalled

heritage of the county, the numerous groups who actively engage with

their local heritage, and the many groups dedicated to commemorating the centenary of the War of Independence and Civil War.

Cork County Council’s Heritage Grant Scheme was established in 2021 with support from the Heritage Council. Under last year’s scheme, over 20 groups from throughout the county received funding for a range of excellent projects includingHeritage Week projects, video documentaries, condition reports for important local heritage buildings, exhibitions, archives, natural heritage projects and a range of heritage publications.The aim of the scheme is to acknowledge and support Cork County’s many heritage groups in undertaking activities that in turn support the actions and objectives of the County Cork Heritage Plan.

The Commemorations Grant Scheme delivered by Cork County Council is supported by theDepartment of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and is aimed at highlighting the pivotal role of Cork County in the Anglo-Irish War of Independence and ensuing Civil War. This year marks the centenary of such notable events as the Battle for Cork, the killing of Michael Collins at Béal na Bláth, the burning of houses and castles such as Mitchelstown and Macroom and many Civil War ambushes and fatalities. The Scheme intends tosupport local groups, organisations and individuals who wish to ensure the appropriate commemoration of significant local events through a range of projects, from school projects and the arts to documentaries and exhibitions.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan welcomed the launch of these schemes saying “Our rich history, both ancient and modern is available countywide thanks to the great work undertaken by groups throughout the County of Cork. Local community groups are active in all areas of heritage and commemoration and these supports will enable them to engage in projects that will enrich our understanding of our history and the importance of our heritage.”

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey noted “Having a rich history and active community groups who examine, interpret and share their local insights is a vital part of place making. These supports are as much an investment in the future of our communities as they are commemorations of the past, facilitating social inclusion, education and reflection for all.”

Full details of the County Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme 2022 and the Heritage Grant Scheme 2022, including applications forms, are available on the Heritage Section of the Council’s

The closing date for proposals and appli

cation forms is17:00 on Thursday 14thApril 2022, which can be made online; emailed tocommemorations@corkcoco.ieorcorkheritage@corkcoco.ieor delivered to ‘County Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme 2022/County Cork Heritage Grant Scheme 2022’, Cork County Council, Floor 3, County Hall, Cork.

For further information phone 021 4276891.

Cork County Council’s War of Independence and Civil War Exhibition

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan has launched Cork County Council’s War of Independence and Civil War Exhibition at Bandon Library. The exhibition, developed by the Council and supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, features 24 panels documenting key events and people, and is open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, until April 28th.

Cork was a pivotal area in both the War of Independence and the Civil War, being the home, birthplace or residence of many key figures, and well as hosting the locations of events and engagements whose impact would resonate nationwide. The Exhibition looks at notable people like Tom Barry, Seán Moylan, Liam Lynch and Michael Collins, while also examining the important role of women, the community impact and the civilian experience of the turbulent times.

Notable War of Independence engagements are explored such as the Clonmult, Dripsey and Kilmichael Ambushes, as are pivotal moments in the Civil War, such as the Battle for Cork and the killing of Michael Collins at Béal na mBláth.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan said at the launch, “One hundred years on from these conflicts, which reached every town and village on the island of Ireland, we have the opportunity to explore what our statehood means and see how ordinary people like ourselves lived through rapidly changing times. This is thanks in large part to the incredible local efforts of historians, enthusiasts and community groups who have kept our connection to the past alive in Cork County. This is a must see for anyone looking to better understand the conflicts that shaped our nation.”

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey said “Cork County Council has an important duty to preserve, enrich and support local cultural heritage, and this exhibition in Bandon highlights how the work that happens in the sector here, whether community and voluntary led or engaged by professional and academic historians, feeds into the national understanding of the past and our place in relation to it. This is also a fantastic showcase of the range of learning opportunities available in our libraries, sitting in the newly opened state of the art Bandon Library,”

The War of Independence and Civil War Exhibition will be available to view at Newmarket, Bantry and Youghal libraries over the coming months, with additional locations to be announced. Cork County Council’s Commemorations Committee is available to assist with queries on the exhibition and can be reached

Decade of Centenaries History Competition 2022

The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media has just announced the Decade of Centenaries History Competition 2022 for primary and post-primary students. The closing date is 27 May 2022 and further information is available at

Gold Proof Coin Design Competition

In 2022, the Central Bank of Ireland will issue a gold proof coin to commemorate 100 years since the establishment of the Irish State – the Irish Free State having been established on 6 December 1922.

Artists and designers are now invited to participate in a competition for the design of this coin. Please submit your curriculum vitae and samples/evidence of previous medallic works (such as coinage) for consideration, in the first instance. Both electronic and hard copy submission is required.

Candidates will be shortlisted based on their submissions by an independent panel of experts. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to participate in the design competition and will receive a design brief including technical specifications.

Shortlisted candidates will receive a design fee, subject to compliance with the design brief provided. The winning candidate will receive a further payment in respect of their design.

Submissions should be sent by email, no later than 5pm Monday 25th April 2022.

Launch of Cork School Gardens Competition 2022

Sponsored by Cork County and Cork City Councils and organised by Cork County Muintir na Tíre, the Cork Schools Garden Competition has a PRIZE FUND of over €5,000 and is open to all primary schools in Cork city and county who have a school garden or are in the process of developing one.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Sean Holland of Muintir na Tire said: “If a School has a School Garden or they are thinking about developing one, then the Cork School Garden Competition might be the competition for them. There were so many categories and awards and the competition is open to new or existing gardens, big and small.” (Full list of Categories below)

The Mayor of County Cork Cllr. Gillian Coughlan welcome the launch of the annual schools competition, “Activities that that can help children to learn the importance of nature while staying active are crucial for health and wellbeing. Since its establishment in 2012, the Muintir na Tire School Garden Competition has inspired thousands of students across Cork County to embrace the outdoors and Cork County Council is very proud to have supported the competition each year. I urge schools to consider signing up this year, whether a new entrant or a long established participant, we want to see students from every town and village involved this year.”

The deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, said that “Cork City Council are proud to be on board with this great initiative and I am delighted that all primary schools in the City can now enter and display their school gardens and learn from the other entrants in the competition.”

Special guests included Eoghan and Oisín O’Mahony and their mom Claire, representing Conna National School Overall winners in 2019.

Full competition detailsare available from Cork County Federation Muintir na Tíre8 Sidney Place, Wellington Road,Cork City telephone 0214500688.

Closing date for Competition Entry: Good Friday15th April 2022and to enter online go towww.muintircork.comand follow links or emailadmin@muintircork.comfor more information.

Awards and Categories

Up-CyclingUpcycling in the garden helps lessen the amount of waste going into landfills. Upcycling helps reduce CO2 emissions by using old materials instead of new ones. Schools are encouraged to rethink, repair, refurbish along with reusing & recycling items, e.g. Fairy Houses made from recycled materials, but don’t damage trees.

Food ProductionBeing able to grow food without pesticides and eat it straight from the garden is superior in every way to produce that is pumped full of additives, packed to prevent it deteriorating, transported and then sold as ‘fresh’. Schools are asked to grow in raised beds and containers, Plant Fruit Trees, Fruit Bushes, Practice Rotation, Weeding, Labelling, Use of Composting, Rain Water Harvesting and Wormeries etc.

Biodiversity/Wildlife/ Native Flowers and Plants. It is now widely recognized that climate change and biodiversity are interconnected. Biodiversity is affected by climate change, with negative consequences for human well-being, but biodiversity, through the ecosystem services it supports, also makes an important contribution to both climate-change mitigation and adaptation. We are looking for natural hedges, log piles, bird boxes, bird tables, wildflower meadows, nature trails, use of native flora, organic manures and natural pest control.

Bee Friendly Garden.Loss of natural and semi-natural habitats has been a key driver in pollinator declines. The availability of food plants and nesting sites has been drastically reduced through conversion of low-intensity farmland and semi-natural land to intensive farmland, forestry and urban/industrial use. We will again be presenting a special award for the school which is most bee friendly and encourages pollination

Art and colourUsing art and Colour in the garden to enhance its features and characteristics. Try using upcycled .materials

Imaginative use of limited space.For schools with very limited space i.e. Small Courtyards, Limited Soil Space, Use of Tubs, Containers, Window Boxes, Paths, Borders, Walls etc.

Innovation and CreativityIn recognition of the Creative Ireland Programme, this category encourages innovative garden elements, using new and unique features to inspire others

Fun and PlayThe degree to which the garden contributes to opportunities for fun and play in the school

Learning experienceThe degree to which the garden is used as a learning tool within the school and the amount of children who participate.

Community Involvement / Heritagethe degree to which the wider community support the design, construction and ongoing development of the school garden. How the garden relates to local Heritage and how it reflects the history of the local community

Use of Irish Language in GardenA special element for the use of Irish in the garden. For example, tree names in Irish, labelling and other signage in Irish.

Cork School Gardens of the Year.

Overall best Garden in Cork City

Overall best Garden in County Cork.

All schools who enter are automatically entered for these Awards depending on their location.

Project Management Services for the Irish Walled Town Network

The Heritage Council has announced that it is presently seeking Project Management Services for the Irish Walled Towns Network.Working to the Head of Conservation, the Heritage Council invites tenders from suitably qualified person(s) with four or more years of project management experience at national level to undertake responsibility for the coordination of the Irish Walled Towns Network.The closing date for applications is Monday 2nd May 2022 at 12:00 noonand further details can be found on theIrish Walled Towns Network websiteor viaProject Management Services for the Irish Walled Towns Network – Heritage Council.

Harper’s Island Wetlands, its’ History and Wildlife – PDF version available online

Harper’s Island Wetlands nature reserve is situated just east of Glounthaune village in Cork Harbour.

The nature reserve is owned by Cork County Council and managed by a steering group comprising Cork County Council, BirdWatch Ireland and Glounthaune Community.

Now, with support from Cork County Council’s Heritage Unit, a 68 page full colour booklet has been produced by Glounthaune Community entitled Harper’s Island Wetlands, It’s History & Wildlife.

The booklet contains three chapters. Chapter one deals with the history of the island, from its first mention in writing shortly after the arrival of the Normans in Ireland to the origin of its name and its later development by the Bury family of Little Island. Chapter two chronicles the development of the nature reserve on Harper’s Island, a shining example of what can be achieved when the local authorities, local community and a national nature conservation organisation work together. The results speak for themselves, a first class, multi-award winning, nature reserve in the heart of Cork Harbour. The final chapter describes the wildlife of Harper’s Island Wetlands nature reserve, from flowers and insects to the birds, for which it is internationally important.

A pdf version of the booklet, which is currently out of print, is available for download free of charge via this link: For more information on Harper’s Island Wetlands nature reserve check out the and follow them on Facebook –

Our Rural Future: Pubs as Community Hubs

TheMinister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has launchedPubs as Community Hubs’ – a new initiative designed to support rural pubs and communities. The initiative, which is being rolled out on a pilot basis, will see financial supports provided to publicans in rural areas to diversify their facilities for community use.

Modelled on a similar scheme in the UK, ‘Pubs as Community Hubs’ is designed to utilise pubs during quiet trading times into the likes of digital hubs, community cinemas, book clubs, arts and crafts workshops and community meeting spaces.

Funding of €50,000 has been provided to the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), which will select five pubs in Cavan, Kerry, Donegal, Clare and Cork as part of the pilot programme.

The initiative, which was a commitment under ‘Our Rural Future’ is set to be expanded to other parts of the country if the pilot is a success.

Announcing the new initiative, Minister Humphreys said: “The local pub is part of the fabric of Rural Ireland. Traditionally down through the years, it’s where people in rural communities have come to meet with their friends and neighbours to socialise. In recent years our rural pubs have faced challenges and those challenges were exacerbated further during the pandemic.

This new initiative which I am launching today in collaboration with the Vintners Federation of Ireland is about exploring how the rural pub can be utilised as a space for community activities and services. Often people in rural areas might have to travel many miles to access certain services. In other instances, there may not be a suitable meeting place for local groups to come together for activities.

Through the “Pubs as Community Hubs” initiative, we want to see how rural pubs can diversify during quiet trading times by acting as community cinemas, book clubs and meeting spaces for local community groups.”

Minister Humphreys continued:

As part of ‘Our Rural Future’, I committed to developing a pilot scheme to support the use of rural pubs as community spaces and hubs for local services. A similar concept is already being rolled out in parts of the UK – it sees pubs being utilised as digital hubs, community cafes, arts and crafts workshops, libraries and markets for local food producers. The possibilities are endless, but the goal is simple – supporting our rural pubs so that they can continue to be a focal point in our rural communities where friends and neighbours can gather for a range of services and activities into the future.”

CEO of Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, Padraig Cribben welcomed the initiative, stating: “Pubs are a vital part of Irish life but as local communities evolve it’s more important than ever to understand how our pubs can continue to enhance their offering to the villages and towns they serve.The Pub as Community Hub pilot programme is a fantastic opportunity to examine how pubs will thrive in rural localities well into the future so I would like to pay particular thanks to Minister Heather Humphreys, TD, and the Department of Rural and Community Development for the funding that will allow us develop the project.

Upon completion these pilot projects will offer a roadmap for our members as they navigate the coming challenges and opportunities faced by the rural hospitality sector.”

Inside the Railings

The Decade of Centenaries programme, in partnership with the Beyond 2022 Research Programme, the National Archives of Ireland and the Court Services of Ireland, will host an online event titledInside the Railings: A Portrait of Life within the Public Record Office of Ireland,onThursday 14thApril from 7-8.30pm. It includes an evening of readings and pictures, live-streamed from the Appeal Court, the Four Courts, marking the centenary of the occupation of the Four Courts in April 1922. Free online event but registration is essential

Stay Up to Date with Pollinator News

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan (AIPP) publish an email newsletter each month that identifies a pollinator action for us to consider, one of our native pollinator species to keep an eye out for, as well as a few key updates on activities within the AIPP from the previous month. If you would like to receive this email go to register.

2022 TidyTowns Competition

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, in association with the Managing Director of SuperValu, Mr. Ian Allen, has today (April 7th2022) launched the 2022SuperValu TidyTowns competition. In place since 1958, the competition continues to grow from strength to strength. It is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development and sponsored by SuperValu.

Speaking at the launch of the competition in Ennis this morning, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, T.D., said; “Seeing the competition back to its normal cycle is very welcome news and no doubt thousands of TidyTowns volunteers across the country are thrilled to see the competition back in full swing. TidyTowns groups have shown great strength in recent times and have continued to put their shoulder to the wheel in keeping our towns and villages and indeed the country, looking its best, when we needed it most.”

Minister Humphreys continued:

My Department strives to support vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities throughout Ireland, and TidyTowns is a great way to get involved in community life. I would encourage young and old to get involved in your local TidyTowns groups. You might be surprised at how much you will benefit as well as your community.

“The role my Department plays in this competition continues to give me great satisfaction as we support and recognise the work of local communities. I also commend our sponsor, SuperValu, for their continuing support and enthusiasm and for all they do in raising awareness of the competition. Now in their 31styear of sponsorship, they continue through their nationwide network of retailers to make the competition one of the best known sustainable and environmental initiatives in Ireland”.

Now well into its seventh decade, the competition continues to attract new entrants and continues to grow. This year again we see some new and exciting special awards with great prizes and all groups are encouraged to consider entering some of these awards. These include an award on Bat Conservation, redesigned awards on climate action and air quality and the continuation of the Young Persons in TidyTowns award. Supported by the Local Authority Heritage Officer Network, there is also a Pollinator Award for best pollinator friendly initiative.

The closing date for receipt of entries for this year’s competition is Friday 20thMay 2022. Entry will only be accepted by email to Entry forms to the SuperValu TidyTowns competition will be emailed to all registered groups or can be obtained from the TidyTowns Unit in the Department of Rural and Community Development (Phone: 01 773 6912) or by

Full details of the competition are available

New Phase of WILD WORK for South and West Cork

People living inSouth and West Corkare being encouraged to sign up to take part in anew free 12-week biodiversityWild Worktraining programmethat will be rolled out across10 locationsin the region as part of a pilot project which also includes 10 other locations in West Limerick and Cavan.The training will targetcommunity and voluntary organisations, individuals, farmers, teachers, the business community and others with an interest in the environment, as well as managers of public amenities / owners of public land.

The aim of the Wild Work project is to help people, help nature, help people.Designed by expert ecologists, the training programme integrates the use of innovative virtual and augmented technologies with practical outdoor classroom and on-line learning modules to help trainees to focus on how best to support local biodiversity and experience mental and physical health benefits as a result of taking part in positive environmental actions.

The Wild Work training programme will begin inMay 2022and will be delivered in;

Killeagh, Douglas, Midleton, Fota and Ballincollig in South Cork AND

Tracton, Castlefreke, Leap, Baltimore and Kilbrittan in West Cork

*Please note the Douglas and Fota dates are now FULL

Training will comprise of six core biodiversity training modules that will explore the Irish landscape and its natural networks, along with Wild Work in Action training focusing on wellness and biodiversity management of public lands, all of which will be delivered by biodiversity experts.The training will be enhanced by the development of an online Wild Work Toolkit containing an exciting range of e-learning activities to support the learning, added to by the participants themselves as they experience the training in their own place.

The Wild Work programme is being coordinated by three Local Development Companies -SECAD Partnership in Corkwho first designed and piloted Wild Work in 2017, West Limerick Resources and Cavan County Local Development as part of a LEADER funded Inter-territorial Co-operation project.

It is hoped that, over time, the training programme will be rolled out nationwide and will inspire other countries to create similar programmes for the benefit of both people and place.

To sign up forKilleagh, Douglas, Midleton, Fota or Ballincollig,please do so through the following link:

To sign up forTracton, Castlefreke, Leap, Baltimore or Kilbrittanplease do so through the following link:

No previous experience or qualifications are required to take part. Basic IT skills are required.

For more information visit the website

Recording Ireland’s Wildlife: A Beginner’s Guide

Do you want to become a biological recorder but don’t know where to start? The National Biodiversity Data Centre have a beginner’s guide to recording and it’s a great place to find out how to go about it. By understanding what biodiversity we have and how it is distributed across Ireland we can build evidence to help conserve our biodiversity. Further details available at

New Culture Ireland Strategy 2022-2025

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, has launched Culture Ireland’s new Strategy 2022-2025.

Culture Ireland’s new Strategy 2022-2025 is focussed on the promotion of Irish arts worldwide and takes into account recent global changes and the heightened importance of global cultural connections. The operational goals of Culture Ireland’s new strategy include fostering partnerships and putting equality, diversity and inclusivity and environmental sustainability at the centre of its decisions making process. Initial implementation actions will focus on these goals and enhanced support for online presentations and other new means of reaching international audiences.

In launching the Strategy, Minister Martin said:“Culture Ireland’s new strategy reflects the important role Culture Ireland plays in the delivery of the Government’s aims under Global Ireland 2025 to increase Ireland’s impact worldwide. The period of the pandemic shook many of our norms and especially rocked plans for international engagement by artists. Culture Ireland rapidly adapted to support artists to present virtually and its new strategy allows for regular review to ensure that it responsive to changing circumstances.”

Culture Ireland’s new strategy was developed following open public consultation with interested parties to ensure that Culture Ireland is able to provide the Irish arts sector with the resources necessary to support the international careers of Irish artists and build audiences worldwide. During 2021, Culture Ireland supported over 2,500 artists to present their work at 524 events in 27 countries with an in-person and online audience reach of over 2.7 million.

Culture Ireland’s strategy is available

Please Help to Track Changes in Climate with a New Wildlife Calendar

The National Biodiversity Data Centre, with support from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, recently launched the Farmers’ Wildlife Calendar for 2022: Climate Tracker. Research suggests that there will be an increase in temperatures and rainfall in Ireland as a result of climate change. Any change to our climate will disrupt the emergence time of insects, flowering of plants and arrival of migrant species, such as the swallows. Farmers and other landowners can help by submitting records on the first occurrences of nine key species within the Wildlife Calendar. Further details/how to submit records available at

New Bursary Scheme for the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2022/23

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, recently announced a new bursary scheme, in partnership with the Royal Irish Academy, for the final phase of the Decade of Centenaries. The objective of the bursary scheme is to encourage new local research and local history studies, and a meaningful examination of local, regional, and national events during the Struggle for Independence and Civil War period. Further information/bursary criteria at Closing date for receipt of applications5.30pm Wednesday, 27thApril 2022.

Irish National Hen Harrier Survey

Image by Conservation Ranger Clare Heardman

The fifth Irish national hen harrier survey will run this breeding season between late March and August. The aim of the surveys are to quantify the size and distribution of the breeding population and assess changes since the previous national surveys completed in 1998-2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015.

This survey will be coordinated by the Irish Raptor Study Group, Birdwatch Ireland, the Golden Eagle Trust and the Hen Harrier Project on behalf of the National Parks & Wildlife Service.

The hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) is a protected raptor, listed in Annex I of the EU Birds Directive (2009/147/EEC). Member States are therefore obligated to protect and conserve the species and the protected areas in which they inhabit. Six sites have been designated as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for breeding hen harriers in Ireland the Slieve Bloom Mountains SPA, the Stackʹs to Mullaghareirk Mountains SPA, West Limerick Hills and Mount Eagle SPA, the Mullaghanish to Musheramore Mountains SPA, the Slievefelim to Silvermines Mountains SPA, Slieve Beagh SPA and the Slieve Aughty Mountains SPA. See more information on Irelands SPA network.

During the previous surveys in 2015 only 108 – 157 breeding pairs of hen harrier were recorded – this was lower than the estimates in 2010 of 128 – 172. The overall distribution of the confirmed breeding population across Ireland was similar to 2010 results with 62 10km squares occupied. Additional observations from these surveys can be found in “The 2015 National Survey of Breeding Hen Harrier in Ireland report” linked below.

The 2022 hen harrier surveys run from late march until August and at the time of writing there are several 10km squares across the country that are unallocated for the season. The Irish Raptor Study Group ran several training workshops in March for anyone interested in participating in this years surveys.

For more information or to register your interest and get involved in 2022 surveys visit the link below:

Learn more about surveying breeding hen harrier at the link below:

Animal Health and Welfare and Forestry Bill

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, TD, and the Minister of State with Responsibility for Biodiversity and Land Use, Senator Pippa Hackett, have welcomed the signing into law of new legislation relating to Fur Farming and Forestry. The bill had been passed at all stages by the Oireachtas last week.

The main purpose of the Animal Health and Welfare and Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Billis to prohibit the farming of animals primarily for their fur or skin in Ireland and provide for a compensation scheme for the current farmers affected. It also introduces some unrelated but important amendments to the Forestry Act 2014.

Minister McConalogue commented “I welcome this legislation. It allows the Government decision to prohibit fur farming, as outlined in the Programme for Government, to be implemented – it provides for the statutory prohibition of farming of animals primarily for their fur or skin in Ireland. While fur farming was once societally acceptable, attitudes have changed on the matter. The prohibition of fur farming was one of the commitments in the Programme for Government and I am glad to have been able to bring the legislation through to completion.”

The Minister added ”I am fully aware that the Bill will impact in a major way on the three farm businesses who are currently operating lawful businesses to the highest of standards.For this reason, I am working with the farmers to ensure that both them and their staff are treated with respect through this process. I will shortly meet with the farmers and their representatives.”

Commenting on the Forestry aspects of the bill, the Minister said that,“The Government has the stated policy goal of incentivising small-scale tree planting and of re-engaging farmers with afforestation. However, the inclusion of small-scale tree planting measures in support schemes is constrained by the 0.1ha size limit imposed by the forest definition in the Forestry Act 2014.Key to the success of increasing afforestation rates is to build confidence among landowners of the benefits of forestry as a viable option to complement existing enterprises.”

The Minister continued “Introducing an exemption for afforestation in certain circumstances facilitates the exclusion of clearly defined activities from requiring an afforestation licence. This exemptionis an enabling proposal that allows woodlands to be created through initiatives, other than an afforestation scheme, thereby contributing to Ireland’s targets in relation to a wide range of environmental priorities particularly climate change, biodiversity and water quality.”

Minister of State for Biodiversity and Land Use, Senator Pippa Hackett said: “I am pleased to see the progressive and historic fur farming ban come to pass. This Bill had the support of Veterinary Ireland, Animal Welfare Groups and the vast majority of the public.”

“The forestry aspect of the bill is also a really welcome development. It may help to expand existing native woodlands, create new areas, play a significant role in contributing to riparian margin planting, and have a positive impact on both our biodiversity and water quality. I look forward to working with the many stakeholders that have engaged with me in recent weeks and months as we now begin work on a scheme design.“

In conclusion, Minister McConalogue noted that “The requirement to comply with environmental law is not undermined by making this change, as all works are controlled by regulation through a Departmental scheme. The development of a scheme will be undertaken, taking into account the outcome of a Strategic Environmental and Appropriate Assessments, both of which will now take place. Eligibility criteria will be incorporated into the scheme which will ensure that all tree planting works are undertaken in a legally compliant and sustainable manner”.

Ireland’s Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme launched by Government

Applications for the Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme are now being welcomed through the online portal at 13:00 on April 12th2022). The scheme is being run by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme will examine, over a three year period, the impact of a basic income on artists and creative arts workers. Payments of €325 per week will be made to 2,000 eligible artists and creative arts workers who will be selected at random and invited to take part.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht and Media, Catherine Martin said:“I believe that this scheme is the start of a fundamental change in the way Ireland supports and recognises her artists and arts community. The idea for the Basic Income for the Arts pilot arose as the number one recommendation from the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, which I established in 2020 in response to the devastation wreaked by the Covid pandemic on our arts sector.”

Applicants are advised to read the scheme Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions before beginning their application to check if they are eligible. A user guide and video are also available on the portal to assist applicants.

The Minister added:“Personally I am privileged to be the Minister in a position to deliver this pilot and to have secured the Government’s commitment for a three year basic income pilot scheme for the arts.I would encourage all artists and creative arts workers to apply. This is a unique opportunity to research the impact a basic income could have on the arts and to provide the evidence base for a permanent support.”

The application window will be open from 1pm tomorrow, Tuesday, 12 April and will close at 1pm on Thursday, 12 May.

National Heritage Week 2022 Dates Announced

National Heritage Week 2022 will take place from13th-21stAugust 2022. There will be more on this in the coming weeks but for now, certainly save the date(s).

National Biodiversity Week and Information on Ireland’s Citizens Assembly on Biodiversity

National Biodiversity Week 2022 takes place from May 15th-22ndand the theme this year is: “Building a shared future for all life”. More information can be had on this link:

On the subject of biodiversity, and of considerable importance to that same said subject, is the recent establishment of a Citizen’s Assembly on Biodiversity who met for the first time on Saturday 9 April 2022. The Assembly may be viewed online atwww.citizensassembly.ieand all citizens will have the opportunity to make submissions via the website and by

New Solitary Bee Species in Ireland

In amazing news, less than six-months after the arrival of the Ivy Bee, another new solitary bee species has been spotted in Ireland. The Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) has migrated from Britain to set up home in Ireland for the first time. The first sighting was made by Mary Molloy in her garden in Harold’s Cross, Dublin on the 27th March 2022. The Hairy-footed Flower Bee is a gorgeous insect and very distinctive.

Interested in Flower-insect Timed (FIT) Counts?

Watch a 50x50cm patch of flowers for 10 minutes and record how many insects visit. You don’t have to identify the insects to species, just to broad groups (e.g., bumblebee, wasp, fly etc.). The National Biodiversity Data Centre has lots of resources online to assist, including a short video. You can submit as many FIT Counts as you like between April and the end of September. FIT Counts can be carried out anywhere – garden, farm, park, school. You do need to wait until it’s sunny and at least 13C though! In exciting news, the National Biodiversity Data Centre is hoping to release a new FIT Count app in the coming weeks! Visit more information.

Annual Calendar of National and International Observation Days

Clickhereto see an annual calendar of commemorative days both in a National and International context(Fully Updated for 2022). The purpose of this is to facilitate the planning ahead of a wide range of heritage events. While this is not an “all inclusive” list it should provide a good summary of the year’s many important dates. The planner is essentially a work in progress, should you be aware of any local or County commemorative dates, by all means please do make contact and these dates will be added to the Planner.

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Great turn out for Bike Week event!

Sunday’s Bike Week event in Green Park was a great success, with bike decorating, a ride around the town and free bike repair sessions…a good

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