Message from the Board of the Irish Wildlife Trust

Jul 27

This is the text of a message sent to IWT members from the Board of Directors following the resignation of our staff member Pádraic Fogarty. Interested members of the public beyond our own IWT membership have contacted us about this incident so we have decided to publish this message here for public reference.


Message from the Board of the Irish Wildlife Trust to IWT Membership

Date 27th July 2023


Dear Members of the Irish Wildlife Trust, 


On behalf of the Board, I want to let you know what’s happened over the past 12 days. 


On the 15th July, an opinion piece was posted on the IWT website. This was brought to the attention of the board on the 20th July by a third party, the Irish Farmers Association. 

Board members independently reviewed the blog post and, on the morning of the 21st July, an email discussion took place. The majority view was that words matter, and that some of the language used was divisive. While some of the language was considered inappropriate, we strongly believe that the overall sentiment expressed in the blog holds true.  For this reason, it was decided that the blog will remain on the IWT website, with some minor amendments to the language. The Board is certain that organisations across Ireland can and must do more to address the biodiversity crisis we face.

We acted with speed as a radio debate was planned on Sunday 23rd July. In hindsight we should have taken more time and called a board meeting to discuss the edits with Pádraic before the blog was changed. An unfortunate consequence of this decision is that Pádraic Fogarty chose to resign from his role as spokesperson for the Irish Wildlife Trust. This is not an outcome that anyone on the Board wanted. 

A request to reverse this decision was made, unsuccessfully. Pádraic is a huge loss to the organisation, and to the IWT’s contribution to the eNGO network. We are deeply appreciative of the enormous value he has brought to the IWT and to the protection of nature over the past 20 years. We regret this decision and sincerely wish Pádraic the very best with his future endeavours, and know he will continue to be a strong advocate for change.

The Board has a responsibility to act in the best interests of the organisation, keeping in mind our purpose and mission. I want to assure you that the Board is committed to our mission, which is “to motivate and support people to take action to protect and restore biodiversity, through advocacy, campaigning, education and conservation activities”. We will achieve this while also upholding the strongest governance standards to protect the IWT. 

As an organisation we have learnt important lessons from these events. In the short term, we will:

  • Grow the IWT voices advocating for our natural heritage in the face of the biodiversity and climate crises.
  • Support our team to strongly advocate while also staying true to the values of the organisation. 
  • Bring clarity around the publication of opinion pieces in external communications and the use of personal blogs on our website.


Our way forward

The IWT is a small team with an urgent and critical mission and I want to reassure our members that strong advocacy is, always has been, and will continue to be a key principle for the IWT. 

We are in the process of strengthening our Board and recently issued calls for open roles. We want to ensure our membership retains a voice on our board, and we need more help with environmental and advocacy expertise. We know that these skills are within our membership, and we hope that you will submit an application. To learn about Director responsibilities, see the Charities Governance Code, and Companies Act 2014

Finally, I want to say thank you for your continued support of the Irish Wildlife Trust, and of Ireland’s Natural Heritage.


Best Regards, 

Claire Walsh, Chair of the Board of the Irish Wildlife Trust


Appendix: The responsibility of Charity Trustees / Directors

Charities Governance Code

Directors Duties, Companies Act 2014

The Companies Act 2014 includes in fiduciary duties of company directors:

  1. To act in good faith in what the director considers to be the interests of the company;
  2. To act honestly and responsibly in relation to the conduct of the affairs of the company (this duty was previously set out in law under section 150 of the Companies Act 1990); and
  3. To exercise the care, skill and diligence which would be exercised in the same circumstances by a reasonable person.