To bee or not to bee? The coun­cil faces a dilemma

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Gerry Hand news@dai­ly­

THERE’S a buzz in the cor­ri­dors of Kilkenny County Coun­cil af­ter a mo­tion was tabled that bees, which match the black and am­ber GAA jer­sey, should be des­ig­nated their ‘county in­sect’.

If the mo­tion is suc­cess­ful, ‘Wel­come to Kilkenny’ signs will likely fea­ture bees, and Brian Cody’s lo­cal he­roes will be ex­pected to give the cam­paign an added sting.

Green Party coun­cil­lor Mal­colm Noo­nan put down the mo­tion to high­light the plight of the bee – but not the plight of the hurlers af­ter their de­feat to Gal­way last week.

And it ap­pears that he has won strong cross-party sup­port, even from coun­cil chair­man Ea­mon Ayl­ward of Fianna Fáil.

Mr Ayl­ward be­lieves the mo­tion will pass and bees will be­come a sym­bol of the coun­cil on var­i­ous signs.

‘Not so much road signs, I’d be think­ing of anti-lit­ter signs,’ he said. ‘Maybe we could have a sym­bol of the bee and word­ing to say any­one caught lit­ter­ing can be stung with a big fine.’

Mr Noo­nan said: ‘The county colours and the team man­ager Brian Cody came into my mind when I was think­ing of a way to high­light the plight of the bum­ble bee. I was talk­ing to a bee­keeper re­cently and he told me there will be 30% of them gone in the next few years, and that kind of fo­cused my mind.

‘I’d be hop­ing the coun­cil would agree to man­age grass verges, rather than cut them, and leave them as a nat­u­ral habi­tat for the bees, that’s the kind of think­ing I want to en­cour­age.’ Last month, pol­li­na­tion ex­perts at Trin­ity Col­lege were asked to con­trib­ute to an in­ter­na­tional probe into the de­cline of bees.

The €9mil­lion project, funded un­der the EU’s Hori­zon 2020 pro­gramme, will work with farm­ers and bee­keep­ers across Europe to un­cover why so many species are fac­ing ex­tinc­tion.

Bees play a crit­i­cal role in the food­chain, but can die of star­va­tion if flow­ers dis­ap­pear be­cause they feed on nec­tar and pollen.

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