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€30m investment in protecting breeding waders

December 13th, 2023

This week I delivered some really good news for nature, as the €30 million investment in protecting Ireland's breeding waders that I announced in Budget 2024 is now ready to take flight!

As one of Ireland’s most vulnerable groups of birds, this landmark new project for breeding waders like curlew, snipe, dunlin, lapwing and golden plover will take the form of a €25 million Breeding Wader European Innovation Partnership, which will be jointly funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of the Environment, and the NPWS will provide a further €5 million in targeted conservation measures.

In recent decades, populations of breeding waders have declined by as much as 98%, and some of our most beloved bird species are now on the brink of extinction here in Ireland.

The European Innovation Partnership model has been used to great effect across the country, bringing farmers and other stakeholders together to protect and restore nature through results-based schemes, and providing them with the support they need to implement targeted measures to improve habitats and support biodiversity. With this new EIP, we can support communities in their efforts to support these wonderful birds - a win for these birds and for our rural commnities.

It’s vital that we make space for these birds in our landscape so they can thrive here again, and this €25 million EIP will help secure existing wader populations at key sites, while supporting population recovery through wider landscape management and policy development. At the same time, our NPWS will support the efforts of our farmers, communities, landowners and other organisations with proven, strategic conservation measures, like permanent predator-proof fencing.

Through our existing partnership with the Department of Agriculture on the Curlew Conservation Programme, the NPWS knows that harnassing ideas and collaboration at a local level can help address some of our most challenging conservation concerns. Our breeding waders need that targeted support, and we owe it to ourselves and to future generations to save these iconic species.


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