Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (229)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

229. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage when the expert group report on marine protective areas will be published and made available; when the associated public consultation process will commence; the reason for the delay to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2720/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Programme for Government - Our Shared Future contains a commitment to realise our outstanding target of 10% marine protected area (MPA) coverage in Ireland's waters as soon as is practicable, aiming for 30% by 2030. In this regard the Government has also committed in the Programme for Government to deliver comprehensive legislation for the identification, designation and management of MPAs in Ireland.

Regarding publication of the MPA Advisory Group report and the beginning of a public consultation on its content and findings, the report was received by myself and by Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan, TD, on 22 October during EU Green Week 2020. The delay in publication was due to the need to translate the report into Irish. The report is now in the final stages of translation and it is intended to make it publicly available online in Irish and English by 26 January 2021.

An public consultation process on the expert group’s report is expected to commence in the week beginning Monday 15 February 2021. This consultation process will run for five months and will encourage all stakeholders and the wider public to review the contents of the report, including its many recommendations, and to submit their views on how Ireland’s network of MPAs should be expanded.