*Cllr Pat Burke. Photograph: Gary Collins
ADHERING to biodiversity is pushing the promotion of the county “backwards” in certain areas, an elected representative has said.
Clarity was said on the current policy in Clare County Council by Cllr Pat Burke (FG) “with regard to the use of herbicide and weedkiller in public places and footpaths during the summer months”.
Acting Director of Services in the Physical Development directorate of the Council, Siobhán McNulty explained that the local authority “adheres to Biodiversity Best Practice Guidelines in relation to the management of vegetation in public places/footpaths.
“This guidance document was produced by Clare County Council in 2022 and provides a procedure for management of grasslands and road verges and in relation to the use of herbicides. While this document is not policy it has been rolled out to all staff as best practice,” she added.
Speaking at the September meeting of the Council, Cllr Burke commented, “I presume this applies across the county”.
Whitegate based Burke added, “it is alright to be adhering to biodiversity but we’re trying to promote the county, overgrown hedges and briars is one thing but if you can’t go out with a bit of spray then it is backwards we are going”.
The main footpath from Killaloe was referenced by Cllr Burke as one example of where spray could result in a better look. “With the growth we had this summer where footpaths leading to schools and villages were always sprayed to keep dirt down, we have to change our policy, it has been rolled out to the staff as best practice but if you go to other places and you won’t see weed out of place, we need to change the policy”.