Saving Killarney National Park: A sad symbol of our indifference

It must be assumed that the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) advocated the badly needed protection of Killarney National Park in many ways before it took the dramatic step of asking the United Nations to suspend the park’s priceless designation as a world biosphere reserve.

There is no need to assume what the response will be. The diatribes about treason, and out-of-town busy bodies will get the usual airings, despite that fact that the national park, and especially “the beautiful lakes of Killarney”, epitomise official neglect, the impact of unfettered commercial development and individual vandalism.

In a complaint last week, the IWT says mandatory reviews of the status granted in 1982 have never taken place. It points out that invasive species, illegal mountain fires, and overgrazing all contribute to destroying the area’s character.

Anyone familiar with the park will understand the IWT’s decision but may wonder why the language used is so very muted.

The reality is that the park, like so many other areas — our badly polluted rivers and lakes too — could only fall into such neglect in a society that does not understand the importance of the environment or one that has no cultural understanding of its obligations to the natural world.

The move also calls into question, in the most serious way, the effectiveness of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency — or, more accurately, the latitude afforded them by their political masters.


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