Greens urge new Heritage Minister to address decline in habitats

4th December 2017



The Green Party has today urged the newly appointed Heritage Minister to act with a sense of urgency on the alarming decline of Ireland’s designated habitats to avoid irreparable damage and loss of species.

 

The call comes in the wake of a Biodiversity Indicator Survey for 2017 launched today by the National Biodiversity Data Centre which states that 91% of our habitats designated under EU Law are ‘inadequate’ or of ‘bad’ status.

 

Green Party Spokesperson for Community, Rural Affairs and Local Government Cllr Malcolm Noonan said that unless a significant increase in resources and staffing were placed within State and Semi State agencies to protect and conserve habitats that we would be facing significant decline and extinction of species and a loss of ecosystem services provided by habitats.

 

‘We wish Minister Madigan well in her new post but she has a job of work to do to reverse the disastrous policy decisions of her predecessor, Heather Humphries. It’s clear that Fine Gael is a friend to ranch farming but not to rural Ireland and certainly not to our natural habitats. This report highlights a very perilous situation regarding our wildlife’ said Cllr Noonan.

 

He said that a 183% increase in high impact invasive species since 1961 had the potential to play havoc not just with native flora and fauna but our agricultural systems too. ‘We would urge Minister Madigan to fully resource local authorities, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and other agencies charged with protecting nature to ensure that they can carry out their work effectively. The Heritage Officer network supported through Local Authorities and the Heritage Council, do immense work but are underfunded and we need to increase the number of biodiversity officers around the State’ said Cllr Noonan.

 

Cllr Noonan said that our natural world was under increasing pressure from intensive farming and climate change but that the State has a duty of care to ensure its conservation. ‘This report should act as a catalyst for change in how our Government views natural heritage. Science should inform policy and these indicators published today need to be taken seriously in how we resource agencies and engage with people on how we can better protect and conserve our precious habitats. It is a key Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and as such we are compelled to act’ concluded Cllr Noonan.