An Operational Group oversees the delivery of the project which is comprised of SKDP (lead partner), MacGillycuddy Reeks farmer representatives, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Institute of Technology Tralee, MacGillycuddy Reeks Farm Adviser, MacGillycuddy Reeks Forum rep, Kerry County Council and local community group representatives.
The small project team run the day to day implementation of this four-year project. Patricia (Trisha) Deane was appointed full-time Project Manager in August 2018 and she immediately established a project office in Beaufort Village, Killarney in conjunction with the Beaufort community council. It was felt having a local base for the farmers to be able to call in and met with the team would be very important. A part-time project administrator and part-time project ecologist were appointed shortly thereafter.
Sixty expressions of interest (EOI’s)to join the project were received from individual farmers for lowland ground and eighteen expressions of interest were received from commonages in the area. Both Mary and Trisha met with and walked all farmers who submitted an EOI as this was deemed the fairest way in which to assess suitability for the project. Unfortunately due to a small budget allocation, not all farmers could be included.
In April 2019 four successful commonages (ten farmers) and thirteen individual farmers were selected to participate or to be supported through the project, and in May 2020 and additional 9 participants (one commonage and six individuals) joined the project. In mid-2020 the project team sought permission and were approved to expand the project area to include areas suffering from the invasion of rhododendron ponticum. This will allow for an additional eight farmers to join the project in January 2021.