Minister Ring launches the Mayo International Dark Sky Park and announces capital investment in Ballycroy National Park for 2016
Minister of State for Regional Economic Development at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Mr. Michael Ring TD has today formally launched the Mayo International Dark Sky Park, which encompasses Ballycroy National Park and the Wild Nephin Wilderness.
The Minister of State also confirmed over €125,000 of capital investment for Ballycroy National Park.
The funding, which is part of the Department’s Capital Programme for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, is aimed at priority capital projects identified within the country’s 6 National Parks and 80 statutory Nature Reserves.
Over a third of the funding has already been invested in the Mayo International Dark Sky project, while the remainder is aimed at facilitating access to the public at Ballycroy National Park, following on from the successful acquisition of strategic lands at Sruhduggan.
Speaking today Minister Ring said:
‘The investment in Ballycroy National Park in 2016 will facilitate access to Ballycroy National Park. This investment opens up the possibility of greater investment in the National Park in 2017. As Minister of State with responsibility for our National Parks, I intend to make Ballycroy National Park a priority.’
Minister Ring also praised the work of all involved in the successful designation of Ballycroy National Park and the Wild Nephin Wilderness as an International Dark Sky Park, saying,
‘I commend the enthusiasm and the support of the Mayo Dark Skies Project Group that has so ably steered matters to this milestone and for the wonderful welcome that has been extended to all the guests here today. It goes without saying that without the continuing broad stakeholder and community engagement and, of course, the involvement and support of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Friends of Mayo Dark Skies Group, Mayo County Council, and Coillte, this designation could not have been achieved.’