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Matthews Discusses Legislation to Protect Irish Seas with Environmental NGOs

Deputy Steven Matthews, Green Party TD for Wicklow, has said that urgent measures are needed to protect and restore Ireland’s marine environment. This followed a meeting with representatives from Fair Seas, a coalition of Ireland’s leading environmental NGOs and networks, to discuss legislation that will provide for the establishment of more Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). MPAs are geographically defined maritime areas that provide levels of protection to achieve conservation objectives.


Speaking following the meeting, Deputy Matthews said:


“The expansion of Ireland’s network of Marine Protected Areas is crucial to the sustainable development of our coastal communities and to meeting our climate and biodiversity objectives by 2030. I was delighted to meet with activists from Fair Seas to discuss the Green Party’s commitment in the Programme for Government to designating 30% of Ireland’s maritime area as MPAs.


“Our ocean and seas are under increasing pressure due to climate change, biodiversity loss and plastic pollution. It is our duty to protect and conserve our marine environment. Introducing more MPAs will help to ensure that our seas are clean, healthy and able to sustain rich ecosystems of aquatic plant and animal life. It will also provide for the development of offshore wind infrastructure, which is critical to addressing the energy crisis and accelerating the transition to renewable sources of energy.


“As Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage, I welcome the Government’s decision to expand Ireland’s network of MPAs and I look forward to the introduction of legislation to accelerate our work in this area.


“The Wicklow Coastline will be one of the first areas to see offshore renewable energy development, whilst the developers have good experience in the marine environment, we need to ensure proper and robust environmental protections are in place. If any local/environmental group would like to meet with me to discuss the protection of our marine environment, please get in touch directly and I will offer any support I can”, Deputy Matthews concluded.

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