Ministers’ Visit Showcases Importance of Native Planting Methodologies for Rural Communities
Carlow, Ireland – On June 12th, 2023, Minister Pippa Hackett TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, visited SME Cullen Nurseries in County Carlow.
Cullen Nurseries, founded by Robert & Catriona Cullen, is a Department of Agriculture approved native tree and hedging nursery located in Hacketstown, Carlow. The nursery specializes in growing a wide variety of native trees and hedging plants, and has been at the forefront of promoting the use of native plants in Irish agriculture and land management. The company currently employs a dedicated team.
During her visit, Minister Hackett toured the nursery and met with the staff to discuss the importance of native trees and hedging for the Acres Scheme. She also highlighted the role that the newly launched Acres Scheme plays in promoting sustainable land use practices and supporting rural communities.
Robert Cullen, owner of Cullen Nurseries, expressed his thoughts on the visit, stating, “Native trees and hedging are vital for the preservation of Ireland’s biodiversity, as they provide habitats for a wide range of wildlife. They also play a key role in carbon sequestration, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. We are delighted to welcome Minister Hackett to Cullen Nurseries to highlight the importance of planting native trees and hedging, be it for the Acres Scheme or planting in our homes, villages, and communities. We believe that planting native species plays a crucial role in preserving Ireland’s natural heritage and tackling biodiversity decline, and we are proud to be an approved supplier to the Acres scheme.”
The Acres Scheme provides funding to farmers and landowners for the planting of native trees and hedging, along with other measures to enhance biodiversity and promote sustainable land use. The scheme has been successful in supporting rural communities and promoting environmental sustainability.
Catriona Cullen, co-owner of Cullen Nurseries, is a recent graduate of the Acorns Plus Programme funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The ACORNS program supports female entrepreneurs in rural Ireland and is centred around interactive round table sessions facilitated by successful female entrepreneurs known as ‘Lead Entrepreneurs.’ The program aims to foster peer learning and has shown positive impact on enterprise development in rural areas.
Minister Pippa Hackett TD expressed her enthusiasm about the company, saying, “I am delighted to visit Cullen Nurseries today, a company that has benefited from the support of the Acorns Programme. I strongly believe in the potential of rural women to offer and lead on solutions to economic, social, and environmental challenges. Every time I meet an ACORNS participant like Catriona, I see first-hand the value of this program and its positive impact on enterprise development in rural areas, as well as on their personal development.”
Attending the visit were various notable individuals :
Kieran Comerford, Head of Economic Development & Enterprise, Carlow Local Enterprise Office
Brian Farrell, CEO, County Carlow Chamber of Commerce
Melissa Doyle, Business Advisor, Carlow Local Enterprise Office
Deputy Jennifer Murnane O Connor, TD