Failure to protect important habitats and species including 10 in Kilkenny highlighted

River Nore, Spa Hill, Clomantagh Hill

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

Email:

sean.keane@kilkennypeople.ie

River Nore Special Area of Conservation

River Nore, Kilkenny

The Irish state is failing in its duty to fully implement European Directives vital to protect numerous threatened species and habitats on our island including 10 in Kilkenny.

They include  Coan Bogs; Cullahill Mountain; Galmoy Fen; Hugginstown Fen; Lower River Suir; River Barrow and River Nore Special Area of Conservation (SAC); River Nore Spa; Spahill and Clomantagh Hill; The Loughans SAC; Thomastown Quarry SAC.

They are included in a report published by leading environmental NGOs, BirdLife Europe, WWF, European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and Friends of the Earth Europe. 

While the report finds that Ireland is doing well in transposing the EU Directives, it stresses that the Government is failing to fully implement them and protect threatened species and habitats.

The report shows Ireland is particularly failing on: Management of protected sites; Protection of our endangered and threatened species
Connecting important landscapes and biodiverse areas across the country; Tackling non-native invasive species and genuine engagement with stakeholder and facilitating public participation
The report finds that Ireland is performing very poorly over species protection and engagement with the public and stakeholders such as conservation groups. Actions plans to safeguard the majority of our island's protected species are "out of date now", according to the report, while others are being implemented "in a piecemeal fashion".
 There is no evidence, for example, that the 2010 draft catchment action plans for the threatenedfreshwater pearl mussel, are being implemented in a clear manner.
 Species monitoring is also very poor, the report states, with long term data "lacking" for over half of bird species assessed in 2014, while some habitat types, uplands in particular, also lack monitoring.
 The report calls for a national action plan to be developed to tackle invasive species as at present there are no identified national management measures in place, with invasive species in the marine environment also "potentially problematic".
 The report warns that the state is also failing to fully designate, establish and connect sites to form the Natura 2000 network of protected areas on land and at sea. [6] [7] [8]
 The special protection areas for the endangered Corncrake, for example, are still yet to be designated, while other established sites are poorly managed, the report states.
 Forty-five management plans were drawn up some years ago, but have yet to be officially adopted or implemented, while there are no plans at all for some National Parks, the report states.
 The State is also failing to ensure that plans or projects likely to affect Natura 2000 sites are subject to Appropriate Assessment to ensure that there is no deterioration of habitats and disturbance to species.
 We are also dragging our feet over habitats and species monitoring, and are not providing adequate funding to cover Natura 2000 needs, the report adds.
 The report warns that that the National Parks and Wildlife Service is "chronically underfunded" and has insufficient staffing numbers working to protect and enhance Nature 2000 sites.