A funding allocation of €500,000 has been issued for the clearance of the invasive species rhododendron in Connemara National Park, Minister of State for Heritage Malcom Noonan has announced.

The funding is to be spent over the next two years and will create employment opportunities within the national park.

Minister Noonan said: “Removing invasive species is challenging and labour-intensive work, but it’s critically important for the health of our ecosystems.

“This funding for Connemara will create rural employment over the next two years to help manage and eradicate rhododendron across 300 hectares of heath and blanket bog within the park.”

Local asset

The rhododendron clearance projects will be advertised by way of e-tenders.

Contractors are invited to submit a response to the tender request and have their submissions considered as part of the project.

It is hoped to have this tender published, contracts signed and works commenced by the fourth quarter of 2021.

Chair of the board of directors of Connemara West Dr Kevin Heanue welcomed the news.

“The fight against invasive species like rhododendron is an ongoing challenge in Connemara and it is great to see this work continuing.

“The national park is a significant local asset, not only in terms of the natural environment but also in terms of the contribution it makes to people's quality of life.”