Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan has confirmed a strategic action plan for the future of the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NWPS) is go to Cabinet in coming weeks, with the intention to implement it “in the lifetime of this Government”.
In addition, a separate report by external consultants – the ecologist Prof Jane Stout of Trinity College Dublin and consultant Dr Micheál Ó Cinneide – which is highly critical of how the NPWS operates, will be published at that point, Mr Noonan has confirmed.
Their report – with 26 recommendations to overhaul the organisation, which is under the remit of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage – was submitted in mid-2021. Mr Noonan has been under sustained pressure from wildlife experts and environment NGOs to publish it.
The issue was raised in the Seanad by Independent Senator Victor Boyhan on Thursday, who highlighted its reported findings – notably that it “is unable to fulfil its current obligations due to limited resources and major structural problems”.
His understanding was “it sets alarm bells going in relation to a number of issues” and Mr Boyhan requested the report including re