Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Ceisteanna (41)

Eamon Ryan


41. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the role the National Parks and Wildlife Service has in the designation of national parks. [16740/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

There are six National Parks in Ireland. The IUCN, also known as the World Conservation Union which is affiliated to the United Nations, is the international authority which sets the criteria for the protected areas of the world. As far as the National Parks are concerned, in 1969, the IUCN established three characteristics which an area should share in order to be considered a National Park.

All of Ireland's six National Parks are managed as Category II National Parks under the criteria set out by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Under this Category, ownership and management should normally be by the highest competent authority of the State.

Accordingly, all National Parks in Ireland are fully owned and managed by the State through the National Parks and Wildlife Service Division (NPWS) of my Department. It is the policy of the Department to abide by the criteria and standards for the National Parks laid down by the IUCN.

The National Parks in Ireland are managed under several pieces of enabling primary and secondary legislation. .

No new National Parks have been designated recently. However, my Department makes strategic land purchases from time to time in order to consolidate and enhance its sites. In 2016 my Department completed the purchase of 5,000 hectares of lands in Glenasmole which were added to Wicklow Mountains National Park, expanding the total size of this National Park to some 22,000 hectares. In late 2017 my Department announced the expansion of Ballycroy National Park to include the area known as Wild Nephin, expanding the total size of the National Park to over 15,000 hectares.