On September 3, last, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht announced a contribution of €100,000 towards the Community Foundation for Ireland’s Biodiversity Fund – one of the ‘Seeds for Nature’ initiatives.

Meanwhile, the total grant allocation this year through the fund is €370,000; it will be awarded to 56 organisations covering each county in Ireland and will focus on tackling biodiversity loss within their communities.

This is according to the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, who was responding to questions put to her by Labour’s deputy Willie Penrose during Dáil proceedings earlier this week.

Penrose asked the minister if she had plans to create a specific funding scheme for community groups to assist them in the conservation and promotion of biodiversity.

‘A pressing issue’

She told those gathered that biodiversity loss is a pressing issue and it is important that every sector of society plays its role in the matter.

The fund is an example of how Government, communities and philanthropy have come together to create real, on-the-ground impact.

She continued: “Successful applicants are awarded grants from €5,000 to €10,000 to conduct local biodiversity studies with a trained ecologist and to engage others in the area – including farmers – to get a clear picture of the biodiversity needs in their communities.

“Future involvement in this scheme will be considered by my department as part of its normal budgetary estimates process.”

Seeds of Nature

In addition, as part of the Seeds for Nature, which was announced earlier this year at the National Biodiversity Conference, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht committed to expanding on the existing scheme of National Biodiversity Action Plan grants to local authorities.

The minister pointed to how this will assist them in “funding locally led biodiversity projects” and raise awareness of biodiversity issues at local level.

A total of €500,000 has been made available to 28 local authorities who applied in 2019.

She continued: “My department also provides funding each year to An Taisce to support the biodiversity component of their successful Green Schools programme.

“Biodiversity Week takes place annually in May and coincides with the UN International Day for Biological Diversity.

“My department provides funding each year to the Irish Environmental Network to run a series of events and activities at a local level – aiming to engage citizens in biodiversity and raise awareness across communities.

“I will continue to look at ways in which targeted funding can be made available to promote and assist biodiversity awareness and locally led projects in the context of resources available to my department and the demands on those resources.”