At a ceremony at the recent Mayo Day event in Turlough House, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Blackie Gavin and Chief Executive Peter Hynes, signed a framework agreement with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, to formalise Mayo County Council’s long-term commitment to support pollinators in the county.
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 its crops, fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, many of our pollinators are now threatened with extinction.
Parks superintendent with Mayo County Council, Peter Gill, said: "We all depend on pollinators and the important service they provide. Unfortunately, our pollinators are in decline. Of the 99 different types of bees on the island of Ireland, nearly one third are threatened with extinction. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is a strategy that addresses this problem.
"The strength of the Pollinator Plan is its evidence-based guidelines, which give clear advice on how each sector can improve their land for pollinators – for instance, by reducing grass mowing; by allowing hedgerows to bloom; by planting pollinator-friendly plants; or by reducing the use of pesticides. By helping our pollinators, the Pollinator Plan also improves the landscape for biodiversity generally across the island."
At the signing, Cathaoirleach, Cllr Blackie Gavin said: "We are delighted to be the latest Local Authority on the island to sign up to the Pollinator Plan. 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."
In becoming an All-Ireland Pollinator Plan Partner, Mayo County Council agree to support the ethos of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan; to consider the Plan in policies, plans, and management decisions where possible; to carry out one pollinator-friendly action in the first year of signing up and plan to carry out at least three more within the following five years.
Local authority partners will also provide updates on the pollinator actions they have planned, implemented or maintained at the end of each year. With current challenges to the natural world, including Climate Change, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan offers local authorities a way of conserving the free ecosystem services provided by pollinating insects.
According to chief executive, Peter Hynes: "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."