I am very aware of the important work done by the member organisations of the Irish Environmental Network (IEN). These national environmental NGOs are active on a broad range of environmental issues, including wildlife conservation, biodiversity and climate change.
I recognise that, in addition to the Climate and Biodiversity challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to communities and society. IEN members have had to adapt quickly in response to the changing landscape, developing new skills and tools to shift activities online.
I understand that in response to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the IEN will introduce contingency plans for 2021 to support its members' activities, which will include virtual events, the roll-out of a web-based communications platform, and grants to offset the costs of remote working. The IEN and its members face increased operating and administration costs to fund these activities.
In this context, I recently approved the 2021 allocation of funding to the Irish Environmental Network from the Environment Fund. I will be providing funding of €1,764,000 for the IEN and its constituent members in 2021. This is an increase of €704,000 on the level of funding provided in 2020. This funding is granted subject to the recipients complying with the provisions of Department of Finance Circular 13 of 2014, “Management of and Accountability for Grants from Exchequer Funds”.
This significantly increased level of funding represents a very strong demonstration of my support for the work of the eNGO's in Ireland.