Green Party TD, Minister Malcolm Noonan is now Ireland’s first ‘Minister for Nature’.
Minister Noonan’s official title change is to Minister of State with responsibility for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform.
It’s the first time an Irish Government Minister has been designated explicit responsibility for ‘nature’.
The areas of marine protection, water quality and protection for Ireland’s rivers and lakes now fall within Minister Noonan’s brief.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service, water quality and marine protection all under the same Ministry.
Speaking about his new responsibilities this week, Minister Noonan said: “The job of restoring nature is enormously challenging, but it’s a challenge that this government has always taken extremely seriously. By bringing the key agencies and action areas definitively under the remit of one Minister, we are better positioned to take on that challenge with a more coherent and integrated approach to environmental policy.
“In many ways 2023 has been a pivotal year for nature. It was a year that saw intense debates around the EU’s Nature Restoration law, water quality and the nitrates derogation, and of course the report of the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss, meaning nature has never been higher up on the political agenda. I was proud to see that reflected in Budget 2024, with a record heritage budget of €166 million and the establishment of an unprecedented €3.15 billion Climate and Nature Fund, and I’m proud now to see it elevated to a direct area of responsibility under my brief.
“With Budget 2024 we gave an important signal at an important time of our commitment to protecting and restoring nature, and with this change to my title and the delegation of new responsibilities that are critical to achieving our goals we are rubberstamping our intention to take action.”