Irish Examiner View: Protecting wildlife effectively

Irish Examiner View: Protecting wildlife effectively

This may not be the optimal moment to argue that the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) be made an independent agency or that its powers be enhanced.

It may not be the ideal moment, either, to argue for funding to match its mission, or maybe a wider remit for a new organisation so it might oversee all our waterways and freshwater fisheries too.

But then there is never an ideal moment to acknowledge that our current system, grossly under-resourced and dispirited, is, almost deliberately, not fit for purpose.

That charge rings all too true, especially if establishing a wildlife protection agency with real teeth must have consequences for some land use.

Wildlife groups have, to mark National Biodiversity Week, called for a stronger NPWS to try to at least slow, if not reverse, our biodiversity crisis, one that accelerates even

though it is a year since the Oireachtas declared a climate and biodiversity emergency.

So little has happened since then that it is difficult to imagine that declaration as anything other than the very epitome of empty political lip service.

There may be many reasons for that reticence but it is out of step with the zeitgeist.

People are more and more aware of, and more committed to, their environmental obligations.

That should be reflected in how we police and manage wildlife and the habitats that sustain it.

A stronger, independent wildlife service would be just one way to do that.

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