National Parks and Wildlife Service to acquire almost a thousand hectares of upland habitat at the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark 

7th June 2023

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Tánaiste Micheál Martin today announced an agreement by the National Parks and Wildlife Service to purchase almost 1000 hectares of upland habitat in Co Cavan as part of the world’s first cross-border Geopark. 

The site, near Cuilcagh Mountain in County Cavan, will be managed to help the State meet its nature and biodiversity action plans, and significantly benefit the work of the Geopark. 

Jointly managed by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Cavan County Council, the Geopark aims to facilitate strong cross-border cooperation and management and allow for the development and nurturing of positive cultural links, integrated ways of working and collaborative and collective planning and decision-making for the future. 

Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark’s mission is to nurture and protect the local area to ensure it provides a solid social, environmental and economic platform for the surrounding communities enabling them to live in balance with their surroundings. 

Announcing the acquisition plans on a visit to the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark today, Tánaiste, Micheál Martin said: 

“Given the unique conservation value and remarkable concentration of upland habitats and species at this site, I am very pleased to announce that the National Parks and Wildlife Service has reached an agreement to purchase almost a 1000 hectares of land, which will allow them, and Cavan County Council, to support the aims of the Geopark, and protect the nature and biodiversity that is such a remarkable characteristic of this area. 

Through the government’s Shared Island Local Authority scheme, we are supporting development of a Cuilcagh Lakelands GeoPark plan for biodiversity conservation, climate action and regenerative tourism. 

I look forward to seeing that work completed later this year and to a deepening cross-border partnership on the Geopark, for the benefit of communities in this unique cross-border landscape.” 

Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Niall Ó Donnchú, said: 

“I am delighted that the National Parks and Wildlife Service is partnering with Cavan County Council to deliver significant benefits for nature and communities in the Cuilcagh Lakelands area. 

The wonderful teams at the Geopark and the two local authorities in Cavan and Fermanagh, combined with the expertise and experience of the NPWS North Midlands Division, will be a powerful combination ensuring this landscape of such outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity is managed and shared for the benefit of the public and local communities for generations to come.” 

Attending the event, Chief Executive of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Alison McCullagh, said: 

“I am delighted that the National Parks and Wildlife Service has agreed to purchase almost 1000 hectares of land within the Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark. 

This acquisition will help to protect the rich and diverse nature and biodiversity of the area. 

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is committed to ensuring our outstanding natural, built and cultural heritage is cherished and sustainably managed.  This initiative will contribute to the achievement of this and will support the commitments set out in our Climate Change and Sustainable Development and Biodiversity Strategies.” 

Extending from Co. Cavan across the Northern Ireland border in Co. Fermanagh, Cuilcagh mountain and its surroundings are ecologically important and unique because of the extent and variety of upland habitats that occur and the species that these habitats support. A region of extraordinary natural beauty, the Geopark has huge potential as a venue for education, recreation, outreach and appreciation of the value of nature and biodiversity. 

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