Article by Paddy Woodworth – Irish Times

Many people had hoped that our new Government, with its Green Party Ministers, might make some immediate gesture, committing to managing our natural heritage more wisely than its predecessors.

Yet its first move has been widely read as dashing such hopes, appearing to relegate this key national responsibility to even greater neglect than usual.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is tasked with protecting and enhancing the natural wealth of our landscapes – our biodiversity – under national and EU legislation. But the service has long languished, crippled by underfunding and structurally dysfunctional, in various versions of the Department for Arts and Heritage.

Green Party Senator Pippa Hackett (right) has been appointed Minister of State with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity but this new role needs clarification. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Advocates for better environmental management argue that biodiversity issues should be brought under one ministerial umbrella with climate, water management and recycling.

So environmental NGOs responded with angry dismay when they learned that the NPWS was being shuffled off in isolation to a most unnatural new home – the Department of Housing.

Pádraic Fogarty, author of the best account of the chronic mismanagement of our natural heritage, Whittled Away, and Irish Wildlife Trust spokesman, was scathing:

“The fragmentation of environmental responsibility has long hindered the successful restoration and protection of our natural environment. We had hoped with this Government we would finally see a strategic approach to nature conservation and environmental protection, but sadly . . . the green wave has failed to keep nature afloat.”

Read the full article on The Irish Times