The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) welcomes the announcement by Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, that the review of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has been launched [i].
This was key ask of the IWT in the run-up to last year’s election and the Programme for Government included a commitment to “review the remit, status and funding of the NPWS, to ensure that it is playing an effective role in delivering its overall mandate and enforcement role in the protection of wildlife”.
IWT campaign officer Pádraic Fogarty says: “The development of a strong and independent nature conservation agency is the single most important element in addressing the biodiversity emergency. The NPWS has been defunded under previous governments and cannot meet even minimum legal requirements. This review is a fantastic opportunity to reimagine the state’s role in restoring nature, not just complying with the law, but bringing nature back to our lives and our landscapes on a much wider scale”.
The IWT looks forward to the stakeholder engagement element of the review and hopes that this will be open to the public to also express their views. Any new agency should have a central role in education and engagement with local communities, promoting local as well as national biodiversity targets and providing scientific advice to all government departments in delivering their responsibilities in this area.