July 3rd, 2018
St. Patrick may have driven the snakes out of Ireland, but old Irish goats, once heading towards extinction, are here to stay.
The Old Irish Goat Society has been working for over a decade to bring awareness to the species, the original and only landrace breed of goat in Ireland.
The County Mayo Foundation in New York awarded the Society a $25,000 donation in January 2017, coinciding with the Old Irish Goat Society joining the Co Mayo Public Participation Networks (PPNs).
The PPNs were launched in 2012 throughout every county in Ireland to give agency to non-profit organisations to have a voice concerning policy change in their community.
By joining a PPN, local groups can become connected to like-minded individuals, a local support system, and information on funding.
According to the Old Irish Goat Society Chairman, Seán Carolan, membership of the PPN was a “fundamentally important pre-requisite for us in proving our bona fides” with the County Mayo Foundation.
“We had to prove ourselves to be serving the public interest,” he added, “otherwise our ability to network internationally may have remained aspirational”.
“The Society went on to be the first group in Mayo to exercise this new link with Mayo’s Diaspora and succeeded in generating $25,000 to hire a conservation officer for native breeds in Ireland,” Mr Carolan added.
With this gracious contribution, great strides were made concerning research, conservation, and communication, he added.
Seán informed The Green News that research includes DNA study of Irish and UK primitive goats, national surveys of Old Irish Goats in the Republic and South Armagh.
With the funding, the Society was able to co-host the Inaugural Irish Rare Breeds Conference, create a submission to the National Biodiversity Plan for a Genetic Resources Objective, and open the Old Irish Goat Centre.
Mr Carolan said that the Society is thrilled to see their small rural community affecting Regional, National and EU Policy, and most importantly, conserving the national herd of Old Irish Goats.