Press Release: Environmental groups welcome the decision to re-include 'environment' in the title of a government department but warn that protecting wildlife must move to the department too

The Environmental Pillar welcomes the decision to include environment in the title of Minister Denis Naughton’s Department.
However the decision to leave National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in another department could lead to the conservation of wildlife and habitats falling off the political agenda.
The title of the new department will now be the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
The decision comes after 13,000 people signed a petition calling on the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to reverse the decision to abolish the Department of the Environment.
The Environmental Pillar, which is made up of 28 Irish national environmental NGOs, had raised concerns that the loss of the title will mean no department felt it was their clear mandate to protect Ireland’s natural environment.
While we welcome the reintroduction of the title we also reiterate our concern about the splitting of environmental functions across three departments.
Under the current arrangement waste, water and wildlife are split across three departments and environmental groups feel this could lead to a disjointed approach to protecting a healthy environment.
Charles Stanley Smith, spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar said:
“We welcome the decision to have ‘environment’ added to the title of Minister Naughton’s department. It is a move in the right direction,” he said.
“It is still not completely a joined up approach and we would like to see the NPWS added to this department.  The NPWS has seen such severe cuts during the lifetime of the last government that despite dedicated staff the organisation is struggling to perform some of its core functions.  We would like to see this part of a department dedicated to environmental issues and receive the resources necessary to protect Ireland’s wildlife.
“We are glad that the government has listened to our concerns around the new government departments. With environmental challenges some of the greatest challenges facing the country we need strong leadership and someone responsible for the environment at the highest level of government.”