€47 million has been allocated to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in Budget 2022.

Minister of State for heritage Malcolm Noonan said he has brought “funding and allocated staffing back up to pre-financial crisis levels” with this allocation. The figure is an increase of 64% since he became minister in 2020, he added.

NPWS funding focuses

Minister Noonan said that government “recognises the value of nature and the importance of addressing the biodiversity emergency”.

“Protecting, enhancing and restoring nature in Ireland is my key priority,” he said.

“Nature has been a refuge for many people over the past 18 months and more of us than ever now understand that we need to take better care of it.

“This budget shows that there is a collective commitment at the highest levels to doing just that.”

The allocation is to go towards:

  • Strengthening capacity to restore and protect our habitats and vulnerable species, including peatlands;
  • Greatly assist in investigating wildlife crime;
  • Enhancing the management of national parks and nature reserves;
  • Facilitating the establishment of an expanded habitats conservation programme.

The NPWS funding announcement comes as part of an overall €133.5 million heritage package.

This comprises €24 million for built and archaeological heritage.

Rural economies

Minister Noonan added:

“This funding also recognises the value that our built and archaeological heritage plays in Irish life.

“The investment will enhance its protection, creating many thousands of days’ employment for skilled conservation specialists and tradespeople across hundreds of projects nationwide, as well as supporting conservation, health and safety, and visitor infrastructure projects across our 87,000ha network of national parks and reserves.

“Heritage funding reaches into every corner of the country delivering benefits for our most precious habitats and most vulnerable species, for rural economies, and for society as a whole.”

The overall Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage budget package for next year comes to just under €6 billion.