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Matthews Welcomes Environmental Legislation to Protect Irish Seas

Deputy Steven Matthews, Green Party TD for Wicklow, has said that we are at a critically low point in the health and functioning of our marine environment and urgent protection and restoration is required. The Government has agreed to expand Ireland’s network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and this is vitally important for the sustainable development of coastal communities in Wicklow and for meeting our climate and biodiversity objectives by 2030. MPAs are geographically defined maritime areas that provide levels of protection to achieve conservation objectives. Deputy Matthews said: “My Green Party colleague Minister Malcolm Noonan TD, will bring the draft legislation to the Oireachtas committee which I chair and I look forward to the introduction of laws to provide environmental protection for 30% of our sea area.”

Discussing the importance of protecting our coastal environment, Deputy Matthews said:

“As TD for Wicklow and a long-time environmental activist, I am delighted to support these measures which will protect our ocean and seas and enhance the development of our coastal communities. Ireland’s maritime area is a source of thriving biodiversity, carbon capture and economic opportunities but is increasingly under pressure due to climate change, biodiversity loss and plastic pollution. Expanding our Marine Protected Areas will help to keep our seas clean, healthy and able to sustain rich ecosystems of aquatic plant and animal life. It will also provide for the development of more offshore renewable energy infrastructure, which is crucial to addressing the current energy crisis and accelerating the transition to environmentally sustainable sources of energy.

“The establishment of dedicated areas for marine protection will enable us to deliver on our national and international environmental commitments including UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 which aims to protect and conserve the marine environment. It will also help us to achieve a key objective which the Green Party fought hard to include in the Programme for Government: to designate 10% of Ireland’s maritime area as MPAs as soon as possible and 30% by 2030. This is the work of a Government that is committed to protecting our ocean and seas for future generations. If anyone has questions about the Government’s marine policies, please get in touch with me directly and I will offer any support I can”, Deputy Matthews concluded.



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