The CANN project was officially launched at a conference held on Tuesday 12th June 2018, in the Nuremore Hotel in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan. The event was attended by representatives from the project’s major funding bodies and partners, and the keynote speaker at the event was Ella McSweeney, an independent journalist and presenter who has previously worked for the Guardian, BBC and RTÉ.
The CANN project team showcased how they will carry out actions to help improve the condition of protected habitats, to help preserve vital species, and to work with local people and communities to manage the unique landscapes and iconic species found across the CANN project sites. Overall, the project will focus on seven protected habitats, as well as seven priority species including birds such as the hen harrier, golden plover and red grouse, insects such as the marsh fritillary butterfly, and freshwater species such as white-clawed crayfish.
Welcoming the funding, Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body, which manages the INTERREG VA Programme said: “The EU is committed to the protection of our shared natural environment across Europe as demonstrated through its Birds and Habitats Directives. Under the current INTERREG VA Programme approximately €84 million has been allocated to support a wide-range of cross-border environmental protection projects. This project, CANN will serve to further this European environmental policy by improving the conservation status of 3,150 hectares of natural habitats found across Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.”
Welcoming the project Councillor Mark Murnin, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne & Down District Council, said, “Newry, Mourne & Down District Council are proud to lead this important new project which will help raise awareness among cross-border communities about the potential threats to the natural habitats and endangered species in their area. It is through effective cross-border collaboration that we can best protect, improve, restore and sustain the threatened habitats and species in our shared regions.”
The CANN project is supported by the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in Ireland and Scottish Natural Heritage.