The Environmental Pillar, Ireland’s environmental NGO advocacy coalition, has welcomed the commitment to a €3 billion fund for investing in climate and nature projects announced in Budget 2024.
Oisín Coghlan, Environmental Pillar spokesperson and Director of Friends of the Earth Ireland said: “While not all we asked for, this is still a significant announcement and very welcome as it puts in place stable funding for climate action and nature over the coming years. It is not only a major boost for those working on climate action and to reverse the decline in nature, it is a win for the Irish people. Not only will it help to lower our carbon emissions and address the biodiversity crisis to the benefit of all, it will ensure that Ireland is at the leading edge in creating a clean, green, carbon-efficient society and economy and it will save the country billions in EU fines in coming years if we fail to take action on climate action now.”
The Environmental Pillar also welcomed the fact that the funds, which will be made available between 2026 and 2030, are in addition to funding already earmarked for climate and nature in the National Development Plan.
However, while the exact projects that will be funded have not yet been decided, the Environmental Pillar said that projects to restore nature, address the biodiversity crisis and decline in water quality will require increased personnel in State agencies with expertise in climate, ecology, water quality and other related sciences and expertise.
Dr. Elaine McGoff, Environmental Pillar spokesperson and Head of Advocacy with An Taisce said: “The fund should also be used for increased funding for training in nature-based solutions, fully-funded Marine Protected Areas and financial and practical assistance to farmers for nature restoration as outlined in our pre-Budget submission.
“We are at a crucial time in relation to the nature and biodiversity crisis in Ireland. Not only will we need to fund projects to help address the situation, we will also need to invest in boots on the ground to implement the solutions. In this regard, the 28% increase in funding to the NPWS to €67.5 million announced by Minister Malcolm Noonan is welcome. The 11.5% increase in funding for water quality is also coming at a critical time to address the decade long decline in our precious water quality.”
Karen Ciesielski, Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar said: “Overall, we welcome this commitment to investing in climate and biodiversity action. We and our members look forward to working with the Government and State agencies in identifying projects that will help cut down on the use of fossil fuels, make buildings more energy efficient, transition towards a circular economy model, improve the quality of our waterways, reverse the decline in nature, improve habitats, protect wildlife and re-introduce once-common species.”