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“Wildlife Crimes” are offences against laws which protect wild plants, animals and habitats. Amongst the most important of these laws are the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2018 and the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011. Both the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Minister with responsibility for nature conservation may bring prosecutions for such offences. The latter is the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is part of the Heritage Division of that Department.
Members of An Garda Síochána (AGS) and authorised officers of the NPWS are empowered to investigate suspected wildlife offences and bring proposals for prosecution. For this reason, AGS and NPWS have often engaged with one another when investigating wildlife offences.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service provides a useful overview of wildlife legislation.
Wildlife legislation related court cases: