Consultations are to start on drawing up a management plan for the national park at the Burren in Co Clare, Minister for the Environment and Local Government John Gormley has confirmed.
It is the first time the State has taken any initiative in relation to the world-famous habitat for rare flora and fauna since the 10 year-long controversy over the interpretative centre at Mullaghmore.
The national park covers only a small fraction of the Burren.
Burren-based organisation Burrenbeo has called on the Government to enact legislation to establish an agency dedicated to the sustainable management of the area.
Burrenbeo believes the agency should implement objectives listed in a detailed five-year management plan.
Pointing out that the Burren is a classic case of unrealised potential, Burrenbeo claims that while a lot of good work is taking place in the area, a failure to adopt a strategic approach now "will most likely lead to the gradual dissolution of all this work in the absence of a framework through which it might be integrated and developed".
The group states: "A more strategic approach to the management of the Burren would elevate the status of the region in national and international terms and greatly enhance the possibility of additional resources being made available for farming for conservation."
Clare County Council is spearheading a €1.65 million plan to end the continuing environmental damage to the Burren and rejuvenate the area's tourism industry.
The three-year project also involves the improvement of the region's infrastructure; the designation and promotion of various gateway entry points to the Burren; the development of touch-screen digital information hubs at five key locations, and the development of themed walking routes.
Other actions include improved signage, the development of an innovative multimedia educational programme and the development of geological trails.
The Irish Times