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Hive of Activity: Minister Tom Hayes Opens Beekeepers Summer School

Tom Hayes Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine officially opened the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations Annual Summer Course in Gormanston College, Co. Meath

Delivering the Summer School’s opening address on Sunday the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes T.D, said "I’d like make special mention of the Summer School’s contribution to the education and the development of beekeeper’s skills and highlight this in the context of maintaining bee health.

Delegates also learned that a number of apiaries have recently been established across Ireland in areas that have been identified as most at risk for the introduction of the Small Hive Beetle as well as other bee pests such as the Asian Hornet.

Minister Hayes added “In light of the outbreak of the Small Hive Beetle last autumn in Italy and to strengthen our defences a sentinel apiary programme has been established this year across the island of Ireland. I would like to pay tribute to the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations, the Native Irish Honey Bee Society and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland for their assistance in establishing this all-island programme. In particular I would to thank the individual beekeepers who have volunteered to use their hives for this active surveillance programme.”

After an excellent beekeeping year in 2014 this week sees the 69th Annual Beekeeper’s Summer School taking place in Gormanston Co. Meath. With the continued strong interest in beekeeping the course is expected to attract up to 400 participants daily from Ireland and abroad. This year’s guest lecturer is the highly respected Dr. Robert Paxton from the Martin Luther University of Halle, Germany who specialises in honey bee and related research.

For many Irish beekeepers the annual trip to Gormanston is one of the highlights of their beekeeping year and many attend for the entire week. Others just attend for a day or two choosing the topics that interest them most.

In a recent triumph for the Irish beekeepers, Philip McCabe current Public Relations Officer of the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations will this September become President of Apimondia, the International Federation of Beekeeping Associations.

Wishing the energetic and passionate Philip every success for his term of office, Minister Hayes said he was “confident that Philip McCabe will represent the 16 million beekeepers worldwide with the same enthusiasm and dedication that he has used to represent Irish beekeepers down the years.”

The Beekeepers Summer School continues at Gormanston College until Friday and day attendees can pay at the door. Full details are available at:

Date Released: 27 July 2015