FOR 20 years the EU LIFE programme has been working on conservation projects, and they celebrated their 20th birthday in Annacotty by launching an improved nature habitat.
To mark its birthday, MulkearLIFE Inland Fisheries Ireland hosted a big celebration in Annacotty on the banks of the river.
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan officially opened the colourful Mural of LIFE, painted by Lisnagry National School pupils, and the adjoining habitat work.
“Thirty children worked on the fantastic mural. Beside the mural safety railings were put in place, trees planted, area landscaped and a picnic table installed.
“There was also a huge amount of habitat work done on the river for otter. It was a real community partnership,” said Ruairí Ó Conchúir, MulkearLIFE manager
“The work on this important high nature value river site in Annacotty is a partnership between MulkearLIFE, Limerick County Council, OPW and Annacotty Tidy Towns with significant funding support from National Parks and Wildlife Service,” he added.
A crowd of 200 including Minister for State, Jan O’Sullivan; adults from St Vincent’s, Lisnagry; school children; volunteers and locals attended the event. It coincided with an art competition run by Annacotty Tidy Towns.
Minister Noonan stated MulkearLIFE was a great example of a project which has built an effective local partnership with a wide range of role players.
He praised their work in local primary and secondary schools and said the children had a “great passion for the environment”.
Mr Ó Conchúir noted that LIFE projects owe their success to their embedded partnerships and support within local communities, and projects like MulkearLIFE help create an awareness for all stakeholders to take informed decisions on how to care for the environment, the habitats and the species that live within it.
MulkearLIFE is a five-year, €1.75 million, river restoration project on the Lower Shannon. In Ireland, 50 Irish LIFE projects have received over €41 million with a further €59 million contributed by co-financiers. It is the largest single financial instrument in the EU supporting conservation and environmental protection, said Mr Ó Conchúir.
See also page 18