Recently, representatives from IFA and IFA Countryside met with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at their headquarters.  Our discussion focused primarily on the  Return form associated with the Article 9 Derogations under the EU Birds Directive.

Our discussions revealed a pressing issue: the alarmingly low level of returns data from Ireland—a concern that necessitates immediate action and increased awareness among our members but also threatens the continuance of vital derogations that facilitate the protection of crops, livestock, and biodiversity.

During this meeting, IFA Countryside raised critical concerns about the notification system – or the lack thereof – by the NPWS in conveying essential updates and information. It’s become increasingly clear that a gap exists in awareness regarding the reporting requirements, a concern we actively sought to bridge in our discussions.

Clarifications and Simplifications

We were reassured by NPWS’s willingness to clarify and simplify the reporting process. An annual submission of the Return form is now confirmed as sufficient, with the need for location data being adequately met by stating the county. These simplifications are a step in the right direction, yet they underscore the urgent need for enhanced communication and a more intuitive data collection system.

The Path Forward: A Unified Call to Action

While these clarifications streamline the reporting process, they also spotlight a significant area of action for our community: the need for diligent record-keeping of actions taken under the derogations. If the data does not reflect the necessity of derogations, we face the real risk of their withdrawal. Such outcomes would not only impact our ability to protect crops, livestock, fauna effectively but also compromise efforts to protect biodiversity.

A Call to Diligence and Advocacy

In response to our discussions with the NPWS and the insights garnered, we issue a call to action to each member of the IFA Countryside. It is essential that we:

  • Maintain records of all actions taken under the derogations
  • Submit the Return form annually

Remember that each action recorded, and every form submitted, strengthens our position for future derogations.

You can download the form here.