An exhibition in Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, showcasing the EIP/locally led agri-environment schemes funded by the Department of Agriculture, has been officially opened today, Thursday, May 16.

In opening the exhibition, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle, explained that the exhibition is visiting department locations around Ireland having started in Agriculture House in Dublin.

In total, the Department of Agriculture is investing €59 million in these schemes over the lifetime of the Rural Development Programme (RDP).

Minister Doyle outlined: “The wide variety of projects funded by my Department under this European Innovation Partnership (EIP) initiative is an investment in the passion of Ireland’s agri sector and their efforts to enhance the environment.

One of the important aspects of the whole EIP initiative is its place in the local community.

Continuing, Doyle added: “By having locally designed and led schemes it enables greater flexibility in responding to the particular environmental challenges in different areas.”

Locally led projects

Minister Doyle continued: “Today’s event had a special focus on the locally led schemes from the south-east region.”

Representatives attended from the Blackstairs Farming Futures EIP which aims to deliver eco-system services within the Blackstairs Mountains of counties Carlow and Wexford.

The SUAS project in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains aims to address the challenges associated with the management of commonages and farms in the uplands.

The Duncannon Blue Flag Farming and Communities Scheme aims to contribute to the recovery and long-term retention of the Blue Flag status at Duncannon Beach in Wexford.

He added: “These projects have a particular relevance as next week we mark National Biodiversity week.

The 23 projects we are funding are some of the most innovative projects which will deliver real biodiversity enhancements right around the country.

The exhibition highlights the works undertaken by the EIP project groups including biodiversity, organic production, pollinators, water quality, flood management, soils, farming in an archaeological landscape and targeting unutilised agricultural biomass.

Following its display in Wexford, it will be moving to other Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine public offices around the country.