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Case Study:

Invasive Alien Species Strategy



Many non-native species have been intentionally or unintentionally introduced into Ireland from around the world. Some of these non-native species have become invasive species and, by definition, their introduction and/or spread threatens biodiversity. Once established, invasive species are extremely difficult and costly to control and eradicate, and their ecological effects are often irreversible.

The four main species which affect County Galway include Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed, giant rhubarb and Himalayan balsam. In addition, there are other invasive species which include Himalayan knotweed and rhododendron.


Galway County Council’s Invasive Alien Species Strategy is an important step forward in its efforts to tackle the threat posed by invasive species. A working group was set up by Galway County Council to deal with the environmental threats posed by nonnative plants.

Phase one of the process to deal with invasive species is to make the public aware of the threat of such species. This is being done through the issuing of information leaflets, making information available on, and by providing training for each community warden. Many leaflets are available outlining the
treatment methods for managing the spread of the various invasive plants (Figure 1).

A dedicated phone number (091) 509 309 and email ( have also been set up to allow for the reporting of invasive species sites for investigation. The working group liaises with Transport Infrastructure Ireland and a four-year programme for the treatment of invasive species on
national roads is currently in its final year.

More recently Galway County Council hosted a workshop for the general public on “Invasive Species; Practical things you can do….” in May 2019.

Benefits of Solution

Invasive species create significant economic impacts wherever they become established, including increased control costs as well as loss of resource productivity of grazing lands and fish habitats. Increased prevention, detection and improved management of invasive species can provide significant economic benefits to
provincial and local governments, businesses, industry, and citizens.

Invasive species can have large impacts on society as a whole, affecting everything from the use of our private and public spaces to human health and safety concerns. Invasive plants such as giant hogweed are considered high risk and can have serious health implications due to toxic sap that can cause burns, blisters and scarring. Other species such as cheatgrass, if left to overgrow, can severely increase the risk of fire, impacting on public safety and property. Preventing new invasions and effectively managing established invasive species can help maintain property values and infrastructure and can minimise impacts to land- and water-based recreation.

Figure 1: Information flyer on preventing spread of giant rhubarb, Galway County Council.

Project Details:

This strategy is ongoing.

Further information
Local authority project contact
Marie Mannion
Heritage Officer
Rosina Joyce
Community Warden