Social Democrats TD for Wicklow and party spokesperson for Climate Action and Biodiversity, Jennifer Whitmore, has welcomed the announcement by Minister Ryan that increased funding will be granted to environmental NGOs. However, she says much more is required to adequately address the scale of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Deputy Whitmore commented:
“I am delighted that after consistently calling for more funding for environmental NGOs, the Minister has increased funding by €704,000 to the Irish Environmental Network.
“The Irish Environmental Network has provided funding for its 30-plus member groups, which carry out an incredible amount of valuable work in preserving and advocating for the protection of our environment with very few financial resources.
“However, I believe this increase is starting from a very low base as NGOs were receiving a paltry amount to begin with. Environmental organisations receive on average only €13,000 from the Environment Fund in the Department of Environment via the Irish Environmental Network. This has curbed the ability of organisations to protect, advocate and preserve our natural heritage and to monitor the impact climate change and biodiversity loss is having on our environment.
“We have all benefited from the work that environmental NGOs provide, not just on a local level, but nationally too – including the advocacy on sustainable fishing by Birdwatch Ireland and other organisations advocating for sustainable forestry and other pressing environmental issues such as the Irish Wildlife Trust.
“Much more work could be done if sufficient resources were made available to these groups, so I am pleased that the Minister has recognised this fact and increased funding to the sector. However, I hope that this is a first step in a line of further acknowledgments by the Minister of the important work that environmental organisations are doing, and the potential for so much positive work to be carried out if more funding was made available in future.
“What is important now is that funding is provided in a timely manner, as previously it has taken up to nine months for money to filter down to NGOs. I will be in touch with the Minister’s office in relation to this to ensure that the Department fully engages with the NGOs about their funding needs on an ongoing basis.”
January 21, 2021