Press release

Greens secure €30m for protection of endangered wetland birds

12th December 2023
Malcolm Noonan and Pippa Hackett

The Government will spend €30 million for the protection of one of Ireland’s most endangered group of birds, breeding waders, Green Party Ministers of State Pippa Hackett and Malcolm Noonan, announced today (December 12th). The funding will support a locally-led scheme designed and implemented by the co-operation of farmers, scientists, ecologists and other experts.

Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister for Nature, said;

“Today’s announcement is great news for nature. It’s vital that we protect our most vulnerable birds like Curlew, Lapwing and Golden Plover, some of which are on the brink of extinction in Ireland, and that’s why we’re investing a total of €30 million over five years so that we can target the right measures in the right place. The National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department is contributing €17.5m to this new Breeding Wader European Innovation Partnership and investing an additional €5m over the next five years for strategic actions in key locations, such as the creation of permanent predator-proof fences.

“As we’ve seen in recent years through initiatives like the Curlew Conservation Programme, collaboration with farmers, communities and landowners at the local level can and does work for species conservation. This funding will enhance and expand these efforts, empowering local communities to address one of the most challenging conservation concerns of our time and helping to ensure that the iconic ‘cur-lee’ cry of the Curlew and the ‘pee-wit’ of the Lapwing will be heard in Irish landscapes for generations to come.”

Populations of breeding waders, which include the Curlew, Dunlin, Lapwing, and Golden Plover, have declined by as much as 98% in recent decades across the Irish countryside. Without decisive action, some species are threatened with extinction. The project will focus on protecting the existing wader population, defending their habitat and helping the recovery of their numbers.

Green Party Minister for Biodiversity, Pippa Hackett, said:

“I am delighted to announce the new Breeding Wader European Innovation Partnership with my colleague Minister Malcolm Noonan. Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew and Snipe would have been a familiar sight in many parts of the countryside in the past, but are now reduced to very small, and, in some cases, critical numbers. Today’s announcement will play a significant role in helping reverse those trends.”

“We have used the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) model over the past number of years to help bring farmers and other stakeholders together in local and regional groups, backed up with the financial and administrative support they need, and I am delighted we can now bring forward an EIP of this scale to help save some of our most endangered birds. It is essential that we work with and alongside farmers to ensure these birds can thrive again at key sites. Collaboration and buy-in at a local level are key to addressing some of our most challenging conservation concerns. Now is the time to time to reinforce those partnerships and to support our breeding waders - before it’s too late. Myself and my Green Party colleague Minister Malcolm Noonan have been working together on biodiversity and water quality issues since we took up our roles and we look forward to continuing this positive engagement as this Breeding Waders EIP is rolled out.”

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