June 14th, 2016
Campaigners in animal costumes today demonstrated outside the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in a call for the protection of water and wildlife to be included in the remit of the department.
The campaigners were delivering a 14,000 strong petition to Minister Denis Naughten calling for the reinstatement of the word Environment to the title of the department as well as calling for the Minister for the Environment to be given responsibility for wildlife and water protection.
While the recently renamed department now has Environment back in its title, the environmental groups behind the uplift.ie petition remain critical of the lack of integration of all the functions traditionally associated with the Department of Environment. Oonagh Duggan, Policy Officer of BirdWatch Ireland commented:
“This is still not the joined up approach to environmental policy promised by the Government. Wildlife and nature protection is with Heather Humphreys, water quality is with Simon Coveney and waste and air pollution are with Denis Naughten.”
Fintan Kelly of An Taisce’s Natural Environment Office said: “The environmental challenges we face as a society are unprecedented. Climate Change and global Biodiversity loss are the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced. Ireland must play its role and to do so we need a strong Department of Environment under strong leadership.”
A bee, a fox, a duck, a deer, a wolf, a squirrel, two butterflies and a water body were accompanied by representatives of the five organizations that collected the petition: An Taisce, VOICE, BirdWatch Ireland, Irish Wildlife Trust, Friends of the Earth Ireland.