Guide to NPWS Structure and Management

Extracts from 2021 review report

NPWS has no CEO

The Assistant Secretary for Heritage holds responsibility for the NPWS along with other areas of heritage.

This is currently Niall O’Donnchu

The NPWS is managed by four Principal Officers as four distinct Directorates/Sections, each containing 4-5 Units, reporting to the Assistant Secretary

Andy Bleasdale (scientific advice)

Ciara Carberry (peatland and land designation)

Trevor Donnelly (national parks / nature reserves)

Vacancy (Legislation, Licencing, Property Management)

The functions and work-streams of the NPWS are the responsibility of one or more business Units, and many are directly undertaken by regional staff, supported by staff based at Headquarters in Dublin (and Wexford (Development Applications, Raised Bog Turf Compensation/Site Protection and Peatlands Management Units).

The Strategy, Regional Operations and Property Management Section manages NPWS regional staff

Frontline Conservation Rangers are managed through a Divisional and Regional structure. There are four Divisions and nine regions; 16 Districts and 84 ranger areas. This Section/Directorate manages and administers National Parks and Reserves, and deals with Property Management issues.

There is a dual structure in the NPWS of professional and technical staff in the field, and administrative civil servants and technical staff at HQ.

Existing Units:

Conservation Planning


Ecological Assessments Unit

Two New Units:

New Wildlife Crime Unit has been established in the Legislation and Licencing Section, to provide information and guidance, operational support, intelligence, training, records and a national database, reviews of evidence, PR and awareness and liaison with the Legal Division

In response to the Infringement case brought by the EU Commission against Ireland (2006/2015) on the need to set site-specific conservation measures for SACs, a new Conservation Measures Unit to build national capacity has been set up.

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