Press Release: Citizens’ Assembly report on Biodiversity Loss a damning indictment of the State’s failure to protect nature

Apr 05

Press Release

05th April 2023

Citizens’ Assembly report on Biodiversity Loss a damning indictment of the State’s failure to protect nature

The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) welcomes the publication today (April 5th 2023) of the final report and recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss. It confirms that the State has abjectly failed to protect nature, including breaking laws and ignoring its own policies.


This can’t be just another report and the government must move rapidly to implement its recommendations. We don’t need any more committees or speeches and the Citizens’ Assembly report largely confirms what was already known. The actions needed to reverse biodiversity loss have been widely articulated and supported by evidence for at least three decades. The missing ingredient has been the government’s determined avoidance of taking the necessary remedial actions. There has been a fundamental absence of leadership in dealing with this crisis.


We whole-heartedly agree with the Citizens’ Assembly that the State has “fundamentally failed” in its duties and that must change without delay.


The Government must signal its support for this report by vocally backing the EU’s proposed Nature Restoration Law, which will set legally binding targets to restore nature across a range of species and habitats, including farmland, cities and the marine environment. Government ministers have so far been equivocal, or even openly negative, about this law, which will be fundamental in meeting climate and biodiversity targets by 2030 and beyond.


The IWT particularly welcomes the recommendation by the Citizens’ Assembly to change the Constitution to provide rights to nature and to people to a healthy environment. We also welcome the support for NGOs, like the IWT, for our role in raising awareness of biodiversity and holding the State to account for its failings.


In particularly we also welcome the following key recommendations:

  • That a new National Biodiversity Action Plan be a statutory plan aligned with the Climate Action Plan.
  • Change of the remit of Coillte and Bord naMona to bring them in line with the imperatives of the climate and biodiversity emergency.
  • The review of Ireland’s food policy, shifting to plant-based diet and ensuring farm subsidies are ‘results-based’.
  • Implementation of nature-based solutions for flood management and reviewing the Arterial Drainage Act 1945 which is “no longer fit for purpose”.
  • The creation of ‘no fishing zones’ as part of measures to protect the marine environment.
  • Income transition support for those affected by new marine conservation and restoration policies.
  • Review of the legislation around the protection of hedgerows.
  • Banning the sale of cherry laurel and other alien invasive species.
  • Greater transparency in planning and greater access to information and inclusion in the decision-making as it relates to planning.


The IWT wants to thank the chair of the Citizens’ Assembly, Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin as well as the expert group and the participating citizens themselves for giving generously of their time.

CONTACT: Pádraic Fogarty IWT Campaigns Officer,