12 December 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Cork County Council has officially signed up to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan as it continues its efforts to make the county a place where pollinators can survive and thrive. The plan is an ambitious five-year roadmap, coordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, which aims to make farmland, public and private land pollinator friendly.
The Council is currently preparing five new Pollinator Plans for the towns of Youghal, Mitchelstown, Skibbereen, Dunmanway and Cobh. It is intended to implement the new plans during 2022. There are already seven plans in place across the county of Cork in Midleton, Macroom, Kinsale, Fermoy, Kanturk, Bantry and Carrigaline.
The strategy for each town is being led by an ecologist and centres around identifying and protecting existing areas that are good for bees and insects as well as planting pollinator-friendly beds, trees and bulbs. The plans also focus on reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides and altering the frequency of grass cutting to allow more native plants to flower.
The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan said,
“Pollination is essential for plant reproduction and for sustaining healthy food as well as other important crops. However, one-third of Ireland’s bee species are threatened with extinction because of the reduction in the amount of flowers and safe nesting sites. Bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies and butterflies need sufficient supplies of food in the form of a range of flowering plants. These insects also need nesting places in long grass, burrows and crevices in wood or old walls. Cork County Council is working hard to make progress in this area. I’m delighted to say that there will soon be 12 Pollinator Plans in place across Cork County.”
Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey added
“The All Ireland Pollinator Plan is asking all of us to take simple actions to help reverse the decline of our pollinator species. Cork County Council is happy to sign up and be a supporter. One of the actions is to manage our green spaces less intensively. This protects our existing natural habitats and allows wild plants to flower and set seed. The good news is that this approach often requires less physical effort and can be less expensive. We have already seen the benefits of these guidelines in County Cork with hundreds of rare orchids appearing in Midleton, for example.”
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is voluntary and was developed by a 16-member oversight steering group with implementation coordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre.