Limerick council delays grass-cutting programme to help bees pollinate

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Email:

david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Limerick council delays grass-cutting programme to help bees pollinate

Cllr James Collins with Michael Sheehan, parks supervisor; Sharon Lynch, environmental technican and Anne Goggin, senior executive engineer | PICTURE: Keith Wiseman

LIMERICK City and County Council has delayed the start of its annual grass-cutting programme in certain areas in order to help to give bees and other pollinators an early food source.

The council says it has signed a framework agreement with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan to formalise its long term commitment to support pollinators in Limerick.

The 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 our crops, fruits and vegetables — but many pollinators are now threatened with extinction.

Last summer, Limerick City and County Council began implementing the plan by leaving three pilot areas of public lands develop into Wild Flower meadows, These are located at Corbally Meadows, Childers Road and College Park.

The species diversity in these areas was studied by botanist Dr Tom Harrington and all were found to have a range of plants of value to pollinators, in particular at Corbally Meadows.

In addition to the wild flower meadows, grass cutting will be delayed in a number of public areas to allow the dandelions to flower and provide an important early food source for pollinators.

These include Curraghgower Park, Arthur’s Quay Park and part of Mungret Park.

“It is very important that we care for our environment.  Scientists have shown that bees are crucial to maintaining crops.  They are the world's most important pollinator of food crops. It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees, but also by other insects, birds and bats,” said Mayor of Limerick city and county, Cllr James Collins

Limerick City and County Council has become one of the first local authorities in Ireland to officially partner with All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, leading the way in ‘pollinator protection.

“There’s huge interest from the public in pollinators and an awareness that we have to take action now.  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, allowing hedgerows to bloom, planting pollinator-friendly plants or reducing use of pesticides. The plan also improves the landscape for biodiversity generally across the island,” said parks supervisor Michael Sheehan.