Minister of State Killeen Announces International Conference on Farming for Conservation

Released on: January 22, 2008, 4:25 am

Press Release Author: Mark Dunphy/Dunphy PR

Industry: Agriculture

Press Release Summary: IRELAND, 22nd January 2008 - The Minister of State at the
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Mr. Tony Killeen TD,
today announced that a major conference on farming for conservation is to be held at
the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, County Clare next month.

Press Release Body: Guest speakers at the February 24-27 event, \'Farming for
Conservation - Supporting the Future\' will include Minister for the Environment and
Heritage John Gormley and independent experts on the issue.

The Conference was launched today by Minister Killeen and The Burren Life Project,
which was established in 2005 to develop a new model for sustainable agriculture in
the Burren.

Speaking at the offices of the European Commission in Dublin, the Minister said that
the main focus of the conference would be the preservation of the unique Burren

Minister Killeen spoke of the ecological dangers to the Burren region.

"The landscape and flora which can be seen there are the result of thousands of
years of farming and human activity where man has lived and worked in close
partnership with nature. This has resulted in a unique landscape with a rich flora
and fauna and a remarkable archaeological heritage. In recent times, however,
modern farming practices have led increasingly to abandonment of the land and this
has had adverse consequences for nature conservation and the preservation of
archaeological monuments", he explained.

The Minister continued, "Increasingly, grazing by livestock is declining as farming
practices change, resulting in a growing problem of encroachment by scrub on the
landscape. This results in a loss of the biodiversity of plant and animal life,
including some of the rare flora for which the area is renowned, and also obscures
and damages the many archaeological monuments."

Since 2004, the European Commission and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have
funded and supported the Burren LIFE Project, which provides scientific research,
advice and limited funding to farmers.

"This support invaluable promotes environmentally sustainable farming and livestock
practices, including scrub clearance and the repair of stone walls which, through
the centuries, have played a role in assisting agriculture in the area", said
Minister Killeen

The Minister added that the upcoming conference would be an important milestone for
the future of the Burren.

He commented, "The conference will be an important step in developing a model for
sustainable agriculture in the Burren - a model which would support conservation
farming practices, protect habitats, including Special Areas of Conservation
designated under the EU Habitats Directive, and ensure that farmers are supported to
continue to farm the Burren."

Minister Killeen said he was very glad that the Department was centrally involved in
a major project to reverse these trends and conserve the landscape of the Burren.
He also expressed the Government's great appreciation to the Commission and the
project partners.

"I would like to thank the project partners Teagasc and the Burren branch of the
Irish Farmers Association for their strong, generous and consistent support for the
project, including, in the case of Teagasc, the secondment of a full-time scientific
adviser", concluded Minister Killeen.


Notes to Editor:
- For further information please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on
00353868534900 or
- High resolution image of Minister Killeen available on request

Mark Dunphy
Dunphy Public Relations
00353-(0)868534900 (Mobile)
00353-(0)656839692 (Fax)

Web Site:

Contact Details: Mark Dunphy
Dunphy Public Relations
00353-(0)868534900 (Mobile)
00353-(0)656839692 (Fax)

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