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Steven Matthews TD meets with National Parks and Wildlife Service to discuss Wildlife Crimes Unit

Date: 14 May 2021

Green party TD Steven Matthews has met with the National Parks and Wildlife Service NWPS review board to contribute to the process of ensuring that our wildlife and habitats are properly protected.

Speaking after the meeting Deputy Matthews said “Ensuring that our National Parks and Wildlife Service is properly funded and resourced is a Green Party objective and the Programme for Government set out a commitment to review the remit, status and funding of the NPWS, to ensure that it is playing an effective role in delivering its overall mandate and enforcement role in the protection of wildlife.

“In my dealings with NWPS rangers and staff over the years I have always found them to be dedicated and committed to protecting our natural areas and wildlife. That job has been somewhat hampered by huge budget and resources cuts and the NPWS being moved to various Government departments. Up to now there has been no real Government commitment to protect our national parks and biodiversity. In recent weeks my Green Party colleague Minister Malcolm Noonan has reversed those budget cuts, increased funding significantly, recruited staff and initiated this review process.

“My input was to request, that aside from adequate resources and funding, that the NPWS would reopen environmental education centres such as the one in Knocksink Woods in Enniskerry and really raise the visibility of the wonderful work done by the NPWS. I have requested that works on nature-based solutions on upstream flood mitigation would be collaboratively worked on with the OPW and the NPWS. This type of work addresses flooding by slowing water flows and thereby requiring less construction of concrete walls flood defences, it creates employment in rural areas and really benefits water quality and wildlife.

“I stated that management plans for our national parks and conservation areas are also urgently required and that the restoration and improvement of water quality in our streams and rivers should come within their remit and will require a significant investment in the NPWS.

“This review is long overdue and there has been a large public response and huge number of submissions made. With such widespread destruction of our habitats and wildlife we need improved protection and monitoring from a well resourced and funded NPWS, with good investigation and enforcement support. The establishment of a wildlife crimes unit should be part of the solution and I am confident that the establishment of such a unit will be addressed in this review process” concluded Deputy Matthews



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