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Minister Murphy announces the formation of an expert group to advise on the expansion of Ireland’s existing network of Marine Protected Areas

Published on Thursday, 24 Oct 2019

Last night (23 October 2019), Minister Eoghan Murphy announced the formation of an expert group to advise on the expansion of Ireland’s existing network of Marine Protected Areas, at An Taisce’s Clean Coasts “Love Your Coast” Photography Awards in The Morrison Hotel, Dublin 1. 

The awards night celebrated the 10th anniversary of the “Love Your Coast” photography competition. Minister Murphy stated that he intended to bring forward primary legislation to designate Marine Protected Areas in 2020 and that “this will be an important focus of my Department’s work in the coming months and years and is central to our implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the OSPAR Convention, our commitments under the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity”.

He remarked that “As I have previously stated, it is my intention that Ireland will significantly expand our network of marine protected areas (MPAs). This will enable us to meet the current internationally agreed target 10% protection and any future commitments”. 

He said, “I am delighted to announce that Professor Tasman Crowe, Director of the Earth Institute and Associated Dean of Science in UCD has accepted my invitation to chair the group. The other members of the advisory group will be selected from across a range of sectors and will consist of members with appropriate national and international expertise”. The full group will be announced shortly.

”I am looking forward to working with Professor Crowe and the expert group on the development of a coherent, representative, connected and resilient network of Marine Protected Areas that is well managed  and enables us to maintain or achieve good environmental status in our marine jurisdiction as required under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive”.” He added that “Their work will include reviewing existing protection measures and advising me on the processes required for the creation of MPAs; it will also consider the gaps in existing legislation to underpin such a network.  I expect this work will take place over a period of six months and I look forward to receiving the report from the Group with its recommendations which will feed into the development of this important new legislation”.

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