The work of the Bride Valley Invasive Species Project to fight the spread of the toxic giant hogweed plant in east Cork has been commended by the Mayor of Cork and senior County Council officials.
Giant hogweed was introduced to Ireland as an ornamental plant in the 19th century but it quickly spread and is now regarded as a ‘high impact’ invasive species.
According to County Mayor Cllr Danny Collins the plant, which he described as a ‘particularly nasty species, can cause significant problems where it takes hold.
“It thrives in moist, rich soil like riverbanks, growing to huge heights, affecting our native plants and causing erosion.
“However, it’s the effect that it has on humans that is most concerning.”
The sap from the giant hogweed can cause irritation when it comes into contact with human skin. It gets rid of the skin’s ability to protect itself from sunlight which means that significant blistering can occur when the affected area is exposed to the sun.
"I would like to commend the Bride Valley Invasive Species Project for their work to date and I am hopeful that with the help of local landowners, that they will be able to eradicate this toxic plant from the River Bride once and for all,” said Mayor Collins.
Cork County Council has been working with the BRIDE Farming with Nature team since 2019 to survey, map and address the issue of invasive plants and through this, the Bride Valley Invasive Species project was formed.
The project is now targeting a 5km stretch of the river from Castlelyons to the Metal Bridge at Ballyrobert.
Cork County Council Chief Executive Tim Lucey said he was delighted that all local landowners were supporting the project.
“This is vital for it to succeed as any area left untreated will provide a future source of infestation that could jeopardise the success of the project.”