MulkearLIFE was delighted to win a Local Authorities Members Association (LAMA) Award on Saturday night last. The LAMA Community & Council Awards 2015, held in association with IPB Insurance, took place in Dublin on Saturday, 24th January. The awards recognise and celebrate community and councils together and provide an opportunity to highlight and celebrate work undertaken within local communities.
MulkearLIFE was nominated by Cllr. Elena Secas (Limerick City & County Council) and won the award in the category ‘Most Significant Contribution to Water Quality’ which was sponsored by EireWater. MulkearLIFE’s work in this regard has focused on working with local landowners to improve water quality in the Mulkear catchment. This work has helped build a partnership based approach to examine practical cost effective ways by which river water quality on farms can be improved.
The work was undertaken on a ‘pilot farm’ basis and was designed to be a learning process for all involved: local farmers, farm planners and the staff of Inland Fisheries Ireland and Teagasc. Participation in the programme of work was entirely voluntary. The ‘pilot farms’ worked to promote good water stewardship within the wider Lower Shannon Special Area of Conservation through the development of sustainable water solutions where farmers are relying on direct access or cattle drinks for watering their cattle.
Amongst the measures implemented, fencing, installation of pasture pumps and water troughs and water harvesting were very prominent. It is hoped that the work will continue to help inform policy development and the implementation of progressive agri-environmental measures on now best riparian zones can be best managed and water quality improved.
MulkearLIFE is a European Commission LIFE+ Nature project which has worked to restore degraded habitats throughout the Mulkear Catchment. The project was represented at the ceremony by the key project partners: Inland Fisheries Ireland (Ruairí Ó Conchúir, Manager of MulkearLIFE and Ms. Amanda Mooney, Director of the Shannon River Basin District), Limerick City and County Council (Mr. John Sheehan) and the Office of Public Works (Mr. Noel Fitzpatrick).
MulkearLIFE is headed by Inland Fisheries Ireland who acted as coordinating beneficiary and worked with key project partners in the Office of Public Works and Limerick City and County Council. The National Parks and Wildlife acted as a significant project co-financier. A range of other stakeholders supported the project including local authorities (North & South Tipperary County Councils) as well as other state bodies (Teagasc, EPA, ESB Fisheries, Coillte,) and most especially the local community (local farmers and landowners, IFA, ICMSA, local angling associations, local schools and school children and volunteers).
MulkearLIFE’s manager, Mr. Ruairí Ó Conchúir, noted that the success of MulkearLIFE has been highly dependent on an active catchment management partnership process and on extensive outreach work to enhance environmental awareness for those living within or near the catchment. He noted that the project has worked hard to promote the importance of the Mulkear catchment on a regional, national and international stage.
Mr. Ó Conchúir stated that a major objective has been the development of strong linkage with the farming community to promote improved water quality. This has been achieved with the support and buy-in of local farmers and farming representative bodies including the IFA and ICMSA. He noted that this LAMA is an acknowledgment of the work and hard efforts of local farmers to improve water quality throughout the Mulkear catchment over the past five years.
Other key objectives included general outreach work in the community including a comprehensive environmental educational programme within local schools, and actively managed practical conservation outings undertaken by the Mulkear Conservation Volunteers.
First held in 2006, the LAMA Awards were created to recognise innovative local and national projects in the areas of infrastructure, community development, recreation and social impact initiatives. Councillor Mags Murray Chairman of the LAMA Association, said: “The 2015 awards saw an increase in the community based project categories and the judges felt the standard of entries was very high.
The LAMA Community & Council Awards are a great opportunity to highlight and acknowledge excellent projects and initiatives at local, county and national level. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners.”
MulkearLIFE / Inland Fisheries Ireland and our main project partners in Limerick City and County Council and the Office of Public Works would like to sincerely thank the LAMA executive, the judging panel and Cllr. Elena Secas for the award for nominating the project.
For more information on MulkearLIFE’s work with the local farming community to improve water quality please see the following YouTube Clip from the project’s DVD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3DaIQ2a10s