Wicklow Uplands Council is an independent voluntary organisation representing over 50 diverse member groups and individuals in the Wicklow Uplands.
The Irish Upland Forum (IUF) is a voluntary body to assist upland communities to face the many economic, social and environmental challenges arising in the upland districts of Ireland.
Established in 1995 following a conference, IUF's members include farmers, recreational users, ecologists, tourism and other countryside service providers who represent those who live, work or recreate in the Irish Uplands. The primary focus of IUF is the pursuit of a partnership approach to sustainable upland management of upland areas and to support upland community groups to address local challenges.
Overall work of the IUF
The IUF proactively supports upland communities to establish, upgrade and maintain local organisations interested in the sustainable development of their local area. It conducts national network events for upland groups on the island of Ireland; Researches issues affecting upland communities to aid policy development, The IUF supports Upland agri-environment groups to develop projects and make submissions for state and EU funding and is engaged in supporting groups engaging with the Mountain Access Scheme or other sustainable countryside initiatives. The IUF also represent nationally upland community interests at Comhairle na Tuithe and in interactions with relevant government departments, state and semi-state bodies. IUF plans to develop an education and training programme - based on identified member needs - to support local groups engaged in sustainable development and maintenance.
What work the Heritage Council is funding this year:
The Heritage Council has assisted IUF to conduct two research studies in 2016. The first titled Uplands Community Study by Alan Hill is a island wide survey of local groups active in sustainable management activities in Irish upland areas. The survey gives a snapshot in time and profiles where twenty-five of the most prominent and representative upland community groups are in relation to how they are organised, what they do and the obstacles they face. The report calls for the provision by government of multi-year funding for active upland groups and a national network co-ordinator to organise information gathering, dissemination, training and management support for the resource starved groups.
The second study Irish Uplands Socio-Economic Profile. This report commissioned by IUF into Ireland’s inhabited and farmed upland areas draws on data derived from the Census of Population, Census of Agriculture and Pobal – HP Deprivation Index from 17 electoral divisions which match areas in ROI covered in the Uplands Communities Study. The analysis drawn of socio-economic conditions and their implications for upland communities will help to inform upland futures.
The Heritage Council supported the IUF to organise a national conference in conjunction with the MacGillycuddy Reeks Mountain Access Forum at Beaufort County Kerry where the two reports above were presented. The focus of the Resourcing Upland Communities conference was to promote the benefits and value of the establishment of an effective island wide network of Upland groups concerned with the sustainable management of Ireland’s upland areas. The conference was successful in bringing together people from north, south, east and west to discuss issues of common interest and concern and solutions to many shared problems. The conference mandated the IUF to seek government financial support to establish a national network organisation and employ a national upland community network co-ordinator. A conference report and the two above mentioned reports may be accessed on www.irishuplandsforum.org
The EFNCP is a Europe-wide network which raises awareness of the importance of low-intensity livestock farming.