IEN Meeting with the Joint Committee on Marine Protected Areas Bill 2023
Time: 09:30 – 12:30
The 3rd Joint Oireachtas Committee pre-legislative scrutiny meeting on the General Scheme for Ireland’s MPA Bill 2022 took place on Thursday the 2nd of February.
The IWDG, along with coalition partners, has identified a number of issues that should be addressed.
IEN Environmental Pillar Speakers:
1. Donal Griffin – Fairseas
2. Padriac Fogarty – Irish Wildlife Trust
3. Attracta Uí Bhroin – IEN
4. Sinead Loughran – BWI
5. Patrick Lyne – IWDG IWDG
Wind Energy Ireland:
6. Niall Goodwin
7. Denis Devane
8. Patricia Comiskey
Generally, a very constructive engagement with the JOC. Issues raised by WEI were very similar to those raised by IEN Environmental Pillar Speakers.
In no particular order:
- Lack of specific requirements and timelines in the Bill.
- Ability of the Bill to be interpreted to anything or nothing and leaving the minister with complete ability to decide what is appropriate.
- Need to extend consultation for MPAs from 4 to perhaps 8 or even 10 weeks.
- There is a need for 10% of the marine area to be strictly protected.
- Need for grounds for ministerial decisions to be made public.
- Need for the state to be actively engaged in baseline data collection with particular emphasis on acoustic monitoring and developing an acoustic network.
- Need to establish responsibilities for enforcement, management and data collection. With the necessity perhaps to equip and train the Navy in this new role.
- Target of “up to” 30% for marine areas to be designated MPAs should have “up to” removed.
- Seabirds highlighted the need to have Irish designations used with 24 of 25 species on an amber list and not use IUCN and OSPAR designations as a guide.
- Need to consider co-location of MPAs with ORE sites was raised, though the preference among IEN members was to have distinct MPAs, co-location may offer benefits to some species.
- Conflict in Heads 14.2 which allows for licence holders to continue “without prejudice to existing rights” should MPA designation occur on the same site, should be changed to allow for phasing out of activities that are deemed not compatible with the particular MPA.
JOC will report February 21st (2023) and has invited short submissions by Wednesday, February 8th, these should be specific amendments on what needs to change in the Bill.
Video of proceedings will be available later under CR1 at https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/oireachtas-tv/video-archive/committees/ datePeriod=all&fromDate=02%2F02%2F2023&toDate=02%2F02%2F2023&committee