The Department of Agriculture has awarded funding to the Teagasc Comeragh hill sheep discussion group to the sum of €118,720 for a one-year biodiversity project, under the European Innovation Partnership model.

The group was granted the funding in June.

It comprises of 14 farmers whose sheep graze over 4,000ha of the Comeragh mountains, across six commonages and four upland farms.

The award focuses on promoting biodiversity through collaboration among farming groups, community and local action groups who engage with the broader population.


Liam Beresford, an upland sheep farmer on the Comeragh mountains, who chairs the project team, said: "Our project is based on learning how to manage the uplands we graze to improve and maintain the quality of the habitats.”

There are no training courses available for upland farmers to help them manage some of the important Irish habitats protected by European legislation.

Beresford is hoping that their approach to the training will provide a basis for use by other Irish upland farmers.

The farmers walked their upland areas with an ecologist in August and September of this year.

For the first time, farmers gained an understanding of what a habitat is and the habitat types that are present on their upland farms.