Clare Local Development Company (CLDC) is now taking applications for a 3-month LEADER funded training to help people living in County Clare to understand the devastating impact of invasive species in gardens, green spaces, and countryside around them, and to learn how to stop new introductions, control the dispersal of those already established, and network with other like-minded people.

The training is free of charge. No prior knowledge is required and there are no criteria for participation, other than motivation and interest.

The training will consist of 8 weekly webinars, starting on Wednesday 8th March 2023, combined with classroom and field-based practical work. The training will be centred around Ennis, Kilrush, Lisdoonvarna, Scarriff, and Shannon but all communities and individuals are welcome.


‘Taking action against invasive species is one of the most important steps we can take to slow the pace of climate change and biodiversity loss’, says Dr Fran Giaquinto who will lead the training. ‘Our aim is to help you understand the connection between biodiversity, invasive species, and climate, and we will do this in a practical, lively, and informal way.’

You will have the benefits of some of the best specialists in Ireland. Linda Gilsenan is an experienced organic gardener and pollinator-friendly landscaper, and she will teach you about the invasive species that may be lurking in your gardens. Phoebe O’Brien is a nationally respected botanist who will help you identify some of the most common invasive species and explain how to spot a plant that has become invasive. Nicholas Head is an invasive species contractor who has spent the last 12 years developing systematic methods of prevention and control that do not involve the use of herbicide.

“We want this training programme to succeed at a very high level and provide a blueprint for community-led habitat protection into the future. Our vision is to equip all participants with the confidence, knowledge, and tools to identify invasive species, stop their arrival, prevent their dispersal when they do arrive, and protect our precious Clare landscapes’, says Fran Giaquinto. By the end of the training you will be champions in your community, with the confidence and knowledge to raise awareness and help others. Unless absolutely necessary, we do not encourage the use of herbicide.

CLDC LEADER Development Officer, Gerry McDonagh has urged groups and individuals with an interest in conserving the biodiversity of their locality to apply for a place on the course. ‘The programme will deliver on the biodiversity objective of our Local Development Strategy to deliver training for community groups and individuals that stimulates actions to protect and enhance vulnerable species and habitats’, said Mr. McDonagh.

More than 70 participants can join the training. Let’s make 2023 the year when we systematically and collaboratively set out on the journey of ridding our beautiful county of invasive species.

Participants will need access to internet and a smart phone or laptop. The trainers will assist with set up and use of the online Zoom software.

Further information and an application form can be obtained by emailing

Brochure can be downloaded here:  CLDC Invasive Training Brochure.