My Department is responsible for implementing the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2018, the primary legislation underpinning the protection of biodiversity and nature in Ireland. The Wildlife Acts afford protection to a range of habitats and species and provide for regulation and control of activities that impinge on biodiversity, such as hunting and trade.
The legislative framework in place to protect our natural heritage is further strengthened by the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 SI No 477/2011, which also fall under the remit of my Department. These Regulations transpose the EU Birds Directive and the EU Habitats Directive into national law, and provide for protection of certain habitats and species across the European Union, giving a framework for specific measures to be taken to target areas of concern in each Member State. The main instruments provided for are the designation of Special Protection Areas (SPA), aimed at the protection of threatened species of birds, and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), aimed at protecting other animal species and habitats.
Malahide Estuary SAC is situated immediately north of Malahide and east of Swords and has been selected for designation for a number of habitats. The site is also important ornithologically, holding an internationally important population of Brent Goose and attracting migrant species such as Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Little Stint.
My Department do not own or manage any part of this SAC. Monitoring of SACs are carried out by my Department on a cyclical basis, typically every three years. There are no plans to undertake further scientific surveys in the Malahide Estuary SAC at this time.