The Irish Wildlife Trust welcomes the Programme for Government as potentially transformative for the Irish landscape.

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The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) is welcoming the Programme for
Government (PfG) presented by Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and Fine
Gael as containing a number of elements which are potentially
transformative in addressing the biodiversity emergency. In February
of this year, in advance of the general election, the IWT wrote to all
the political parties with our ‘top 10’ asks. We are judging the PfG
against these requests.
The IWT welcomes the tone of the PfG and the declaration that that
“the wellbeing of our nation goes beyond the narrow confines of
economic growth” and that this focus has overlooked damage to the
environment. It is a very positive step that new “wellbeing
indicators” are to be developed that will correct for this. We also
welcome the clear recognition that addressing the climate and
biodiversity emergency must not be overshadowed by the response to
Covid-19 and that a better quality of life includes “a deeper sense of
connection to the natural world around us”. These are important
principles which must guide future decision-making across all facets
of our society.

IWT Campaign Officer Pádraic Fogarty says, “There are many positive
actions to take away from this document which could transform the
fortunes of nature in Ireland. If implemented enthusiastically it will
bring enormous benefits to people and communities around Ireland who
may one day enjoy living in a nature-rich landscape. We particularly
welcome the commitment to review the structure and funding of the
National Parks and Wildlife Service but there is concern that the
language does not reflect the urgency of the task. There must be no
delay in initiating this review and setting a path to increasing its
funding and setting it on an independent footing. The Budget later
this year will be an early test of faith and we’d expect to see a
substantial increase in funding at that point.”

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