Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Environmental Network Receives 1.1m Euro In Additional Funds from Government

14th December 2023
Increasing the resources of environmental NGOs will make an important contribution towards achieving effective future maritime spatial planning
Increasing the resources of environmental NGOs will make an important contribution towards achieving effective future maritime spatial planning

An environmental network has been given additional funding of €1.1 million by Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan to “build capacity” in relation to planning for offshore wind.

The extra funding of €1.1 million has been approved by the minister for the Irish Environmental Network (IEN), a network of environmental non-government organisations (NGOs)

The money is in addition to annual funding the IEN receives from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.

Ryan’s department said the funding “will enable environmental NGOs actively involved in the marine environment sector, including Birdwatch Ireland, Coastwatch Ireland, Bat Conservation Ireland and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, to build their capacity and secure additional expertise in areas critical to the delivery of Ireland’s offshore wind ambitions”.

“These areas include marine science and research, the offshore wind planning system, and public engagement,” it said.

It said that “increasing the resources of environmental NGOs will make an important contribution towards achieving effective future maritime spatial planning within Ireland’s seas and oceans, and the establishment of a new ‘plan-led’ regime for offshore wind development”.

Under this plan-led approach, future offshore wind developments will be located in Designated Maritime Area Plans, or DMAPs, which have been established by the State, in cooperation with key stakeholders, including local communities, those involved in the fishing industry, and environmental NGOs.

This will include the establishment of Ireland’s first offshore renewable energy DMAP, which will identify marine areas for future offshore wind projects off the south coast of Ireland.

The funds “will ensure that environmental NGOs can contribute towards the establishment of future DMAPs, through participation in periods of public consultation”. T

A second period of public consultation for the South Coast DMAP is scheduled for early 2024.

“An appropriately resourced environmental NGO sector is central to our ongoing work to accelerate the delivery of offshore renewable energy,” Ryan said.

 Karen Ciesielski, CEO of the Irish Environmental Network Karen Ciesielski, CEO of the Irish Environmental Network 

“ In particular, the work of environmental NGOs in the areas of conservation, public awareness and education, will make an important contribution towards the establishment of future offshore DMAPs,”he said.

“This funding will help to ensure that development for offshore wind takes place in a manner that is sustainable and consistent with environmental protection, including protection of biodiversity, and the conservation objectives of protected sites, species or habitats,”he said.

IEN chief executive officer Karen Ciesielski welcomed the announcement.

“This funding will enable our members to build additional capabilities and know-how to ensure that Ireland’s offshore renewable energy demands are met in an environmentally sustainable manner that benefits coastal communities and us all,”she said.

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

Email The Author

Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!