Press release

Minister for Nature Malcolm Noonan announces Ireland’s first Marine National Park

22nd April 2024
Malcolm and Peadar at national park

Green Party Minister for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD has today announced the establishment of Ireland’s first Marine National Park - Páírc Náisiúnta na Mara, Ciarraí. With the Conor Pass as its gateway, and centred around the Corca Dhuibhne / Dingle Peninsula in Co. Kerry, this new Páirc is a celebration of Ireland’s built and natural heritage, bringing together some of the most ecologically valuable and archeologically significant landscapes in Europe across more than 70,000 acres of lands and seas.

The establishment of this Park not only fulfils an important Programme for Government commitment, it delivers on a key action in the National Biodiversity Action Plan while responding to the almost 20,000-strong public petition calling on the state to buy the Conor Pass.

Speaking at today’s announcement in Dingle, Minister Noonan said:

“Today’s news signals a new era for the protection and restoration of nature on the Dingle Peninsula, and also for the people of Ireland, who will be able to enjoy the wonders of this incredible place for generations to come. As a Green Party Minister for Nature and Heritage, I’m proud to have delivered two new national parks for the Irish people, with Páírc Náisiúnta na Mara, Ciarraí as the eighth and largest. A place of global significance and majestic beauty, this Páirc will be dedicated to the protection and restoration of its biodiversity and archaeological heritage, both of which are of international importance.

“Bringing the Conor Pass and the lands at Inch into public ownership has enabled the creation of this, the first marine National Park in Ireland’s history. Encompassing mountains, blanket bog, heaths, rivers, coastal dunes, limestone reefs, sea cliffs and some of the wildest and most biodiverse land and seascapes in the country, our new National Park is nothing less than a celebration of nature and Irish wildlife - a fitting legacy for a government that put the protection of nature firmly on the political agenda.”

Green Party MEP for Ireland South Grace O'Sullivan said:

"Today's announcement is great news for nature lovers and fans of the outdoors in the Southwest and beyond. The Conor Pass hosts some of Ireland's most stunning scenery and wildlife, and some of the peninsula's most iconic locations will be included in this new National Park. Designating these spaces for nature and actively restoring the landscape will benefit eagles, ospreys, sea birds, the natterjack toad, and many more species. I am especially glad to see marine areas incorporated, too. This is a win for nature, a win for biodiversity, and a win for tourism."

Green Party Local Area Representative for Dingle Peadar Ó Fionnáin said:

“The establishment of Páírc Náisiúnta na Mara brings huge opportunities for the communities of the Dingle Peninsula. We all depend on nature for our survival, and fishing, farming and tourism need balanced ecosystems to thrive. On an exciting day for West Kerry I’m looking forward to helping our local communities engage with the enhancement and protection of these landscapes for the mutual benefit of humans and nature.”

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