By Michelle Crean

If you’re contemplating a New Year’s resolution which involves the great outdoors  – then joining a voluntary clean-up group in Killarney might just be your answer.

Giving just an hour or two week is all that’s required as Killarney National Parks Mountain Meitheal Group are looking for volunteers to help out every Sunday morning.

Currently the group are actively working on the eradication of Rhododendron from Killarney National Park, while also concentrating their efforts on cleaning and clearing the areas trails and pathways, making it a safer beauty spot for locals and visitors.

The group was established five years ago, explained Johnny McGuire, Killarney National Parks Mountain Meitheal Volunteer coordinator.

“The idea of setting up the group came from the then Minister for Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan,” Johnny said.

“He saw a need for a volunteer group. With the co-operation of the Killarney Chamber and Muckross House we formed this group.

“We had a pool of volunteers, some who were involved with Tidy Towns, and active park users who were able to come out during the winter months to provide their voluntary labour to help maintain trails, clear up fallen branches, tidy, brush and remove debris and all sorts of various jobs to keep the park in good order to benefit the whole community. And it has made a difference.”

He added that over the spring period they will be organising Sunday morning Meitheals to assist the park rangers with the Rhododendron eradication programme.

“If anybody wants to see the benefits first hand there’s a tremendous clearing of Rhododendron just completed at Dinis car park on the Kenmare Road,” he said.

“We’re calling on people to help. If you’re contemplating a New Year resolution maybe give one or two hours a week to the campaign that’s going on in Killarney National Park.”

Volunteers can come and join the group every Sunday from 9am to 12noon, he added.