President Higgins marks World Bee Day

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins welcoming Prof. Jane Stout (left) and Dr. Úna FitzPatrick to Arás an Uachtaráin to mark World Bee Day

In a statement to mark World Bee Day, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins noted that  ‘humanity depends on pollinators. They are vital to the global food chain. Yet, we must acknowledge that our actions – including farming practices, urbanisation, land management, environmental pollution and the climate crisis – have placed our insect world in acute danger.’

He went to ‘ thank all of those who are already taking action, and who continue to work to conserve our environment in all its vital diversity’, and he expressed the hope that World Bee Day and National Biodiversity Week ‘….will inspire countless others to join them and discover how they, too, can be part of the urgent change that we must achieve for our generations and generations to come.’

The National Biodiversity Data Centre would like to echo the sentiments of the President Higgins in acknowledging and thanking our large network of recorders, partner organisations, community groups and individuals who are passionately interested in biodiversity and who work tirelessly to try to address Ireland’s biodiversity crisis.

We know from our engagement with the large network of recorders and the local communities across the country, there is an emerging interest in biodiversity and a growing concern about the biodiversity crisis we are experiencing.

With only a small staff based in Waterford, the National Biodiversity Data Centre is entirely dependent on the expertise and commitment of everyone it works with to collect information on Ireland’s biodiversity and to deliver conservation actions on the ground in local communities, schools and businesses across the country. The Data Centre is extremely grateful for the all the support that we have received to date.

One of the ways that this support has manifested itself is through the wonderful engagement there has been with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, produced and managed by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. This has seen almost 100 public and private bodies sign up to the plan, more than 120 businesses commit to take direct action to help pollinators, and communities right across the country managing their land to make it more pollinator-friendly. The success of the Plan has been in no small way due to the vision and dynamism of Dr Una FitzPatrick, Senior Ecologist with the Data Centre and Professor Jane Stout of Trinity College, who spearhead the initiative. Given the phenomenal profile of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, people would be forgiven for thinking that it is worked on by a large staff with a sizeable budget. This is far from the case, as implementation of the Plan is supported by Juanita Browne and Gemma Hughes, both of whom manage to achieve so much while working only on a part-time basis.

It was entirely fitting therefore that both architects of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, Úna and Jane, were invited by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins to Arás an Uachtaráin yesterday, to mark World Bee Day, and to acknowledge the tremendous leadership that they are both providing in tackling pollinator declines in the Irish landscape. This is this type of positive influence and initiative that can achieve so much for biodiversity in Ireland and we thank you for it.