Minister praises Ireland's landscaping industry as an economic lifesaver

The landscaping sector has been hailed as an economic linchpin by a senior politician, who has praised its resilience in recession.

Landscaping in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic was "vibrant and vital" to horticulture and the Emerald Isle, said agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew, speaking at the recent annual awards of the Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland.

"In spite of the pressure of the recession, the role of the sector in creating useable and uplifting public spaces should not be underestimated," said Gildernew. "There are many challenges, but there is a lot to be positive about."

The overall winner, awarded the Bog Oak trophy, was Peter O'Brien & Sons, which landscaped the Point Village commercial and residential development in Dublin. Portadown-based Clive Richardson won praise for a sports pitch at Croke Park, and Landscape Centre at Ballyclare won plaudits for its walled garden at Bangor Castle.

Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland chair Steven Thompson presented the awards.

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