TG4 Plean Bee film to highlight efforts of local ‘pollinator plans’ with Derry and Buncrana to be showcased in the new documentary on ‘World Bee Day’

A documentary by a Derry film maker on the All Ireland Pollinator Plan will be broadcast on TG4 this Thursday, May 20, World Bee Day.

Plean Bee, by Deaglán Ó Mocháin, examines the plan, which is designed to reverse the decline in bee numbers across the country, and head off the devastating impact that might have on agriculture, wildflowers and trees.

Bees and pollinators have been declining in Ireland and other countries for decades, and this decline comes at a huge cost to agriculture, to wildflowers and trees, and too many parts of the natural world that we take for granted.

The All Ireland Pollinator Plan (AIPP), set up in 2015, is almost unique in reversing pollinator decline by engaging with Irish society, mobilising a citizen’s army of gardeners, farmers, community and sports groups, councils and other land owners to become pollinator friendly, protecting the environment and protecting the lives of future generations.

In Plean Bee Dr. Úna Fitzpatrick from the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Professor Jane Stout from TCD, and Dr. Pól Mac Cana from Belfast tell us of the variety of pollinators who work on our behalf, the honeybees, the bumblebees as well as Ireland’s 77 species of solitary bee - individual bees of surprising sizes and colours who are the country’s main pollinators. While bees are responsible for most pollination, there are also wasps, moths and butterflies and hoverflies to take into account. The aim of the AIPP, launched by Úna and Jane in 2015, was to encourage as much of Irish society as possible to take action to protect or develop habitats and food sources.

He said: “The AIPP published action plans for every type of citizen activist, and in Plean Bee we witness how Derry City and Strabane Council have reduced the mowing of grass over the summer, to allow wildflowers to grow to support pollinators.”

Dr Christine Doherty, Biodiversity Officer for Derry and Strabane District Council appears in the documentary, as she has been driving the new approach here to support pollinators, such as less pesticides, better flower varieties, leaving verges and meadows to grow wildflowers.

Buncrana Tidy Towns won the Tidy Towns Local Authority Pollinator Award for Large Towns in 2019, and Deaglan visits the team in the documentary. He said: “We visit Buncrana Town, where the local council, the Tidy Towns committee and others have transformed how the town plants flowers and maintains its roundabouts and parkland to the advantage of bees and pollinators. In each case we witness the crucial steps we can all take to help protect our environment.”

The Mayor Council Brian Tierney recently launched this years Don't Mow (Yet) scheme which will see grass and wildflowers allowed to flourish on some areas of Derry City and Strabane District Council land. Pictured at Bay Road Park are Lorraine McWilliams Bay Road Park Steering Committee, Councillor Sandra Duffy, Gillian Myatt, Steering Committee and Christine Doherty, Council's Biodiversity Officer. Picture Martin McKeown.

The success of the pollinator plan, and the huge community buy-in involved means that other countries, and the EU in particular, are looking to Ireland for help in improving the situation of their own pollinators. The AIPP is making a difference, and as Úna Fitzpatrick said: “the beauty about it is that we’re not asking ‘anybody’ to solve this problem, we’re asking ‘everybody’ to get involved, and if everybody took small actions, then together we would solve it.”

Pleann Bee will be broadcast this Thursday on TG4.

Buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris, adult feeding on cornflower, Scotland, July