Restructured National Biodiversity Data Centre to strengthen State’s ability to confront biodiversity challenges


New governance and structures for the National Biodiversity Data Centre as a company limited by guarantee (NBDC CLG)

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Malcolm Noonan TD, has today (13.12.22) announced the new governance and structures for the National Biodiversity Data Centre as a company limited by guarantee (NBDC CLG). Minister Noonan also announced the new Chairperson and board of the NBDC CLG.

Commenting, the Minister said: “The Programme for Government committed to supporting biodiversity data collection, and at the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 in Montreal this week, we’re hearing international calls for countries to ensure that biodiversity data is available and accessible to decision-makers, practitioners and the public. We also know from our own experience the enormous value that the citizen science initiatives the National Biodiversity Data Centre is so well known for can provide, both for nature and for people. This is why today’s announcement of the establishment of the NBDC as a company limited by guarantee (CLG) is so significant, in that it will be empowered and resourced to better support Ireland’s collective national effort to reverse biodiversity loss as we embark on a new era of restoration.”

The new company is subject to oversight by the Heritage Council and replaces the previous structure of a contract for services. which lacked the necessary governance and flexibility to support Ireland to meet its biodiversity challenges.

“I am delighted that John McCarthy has accepted the role of inaugural Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the NBDC CLG,” Minister Noonan added. “As former Secretary General of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, his public service experience will be invaluable in establishing the company within the heritage infrastructure. I wish to thank him and the newly appointed board members, who will serve in a voluntary capacity. I also want to commend the determination of Martina Moloney and Virginia Teehan, Chairperson and CEO of the Heritage Council, and Niall O’Donnchu, Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, whose work has been central to the establishment of the NBDC CLG. It was a complex challenge which was delivered on time and in budget, due in large part to their diligence and commitment.”

Originally established in 2006 as a programme of the Heritage Council to collect and manage data on Ireland’s biodiversity, the NBDC has grown in scope, including tracking invasive species, supporting pollinator programmes, compiling biodiversity data from multiple sources and making it freely available on-line, and engaging in citizen-science initiatives.

Having played a central role in this growth, the Heritage Council was well positioned to recognise the opportunities that a refocused NBDC could explore. It set in motion a lengthy and complex restructuring process culminating in today’s announcement which will see the country’s biodiversity needs better served by a more appropriate entity.

Inaugural Chairperson of the NBDC CLG Board of Directors John McCarthy said: “I look forward to working with my fellow directors and with all colleagues in the NBDC to tackle head on the challenges that await. This is an exciting time for the NBDC and I am honoured to be able to play my part. The restructuring will enable the acceleration of our biodiversity recovery and we will work with a range of partners to fulfil our objectives. I am also grateful that the NBDC CLG will maintain the considerable expertise from the previous NBDC structure, and as the Board, we will do our best to support them.”

Chairperson of the Heritage Council, Dr Martina Moloney added: “The incorporation of the National Biodiversity Data Centre as a company limited by guarantee (NBDC CLG) marks a very significant step change in how Ireland addresses biodiversity loss. Stemming biodiversity loss and recovering our biodiversity requires long-term planning, multi-annual resourcing and robust governance, which will be provided by the NBDC CLG.

“The challenge no longer lies only with our committed conservation community, but with every person, every community, and every sector in this State. Building on the Heritage Council’s record on nature protection insofar as it relates to national heritage, we believe the NBDC CLG provides the necessary independence, foundations, structure and flexibility to satisfy the national appetite to restore our biodiversity.”

Commenting on the announcement, chief executive of the Heritage Council, Virginia Teehan said: “Despite the biodiversity challenge, there is now a sense of optimism that we in Ireland can rise to this challenge. Nature sustains us. We, in turn, need to sustain it.

“The NBDC CLG will be up and running on 1st January 2023. For the first time, this will allow us implement a long-term sustainable strategy to address biodiversity loss.”

Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett expressed her commitment to this development of the National Biodiversity Data Centre:

“This will allow my department build on its existing relationship with the Centre and it will allow it to work also with my department to deliver biodiversity monitoring programmes on farmland, including for the Common Agriculture Policy”.


Media Contact

CEO of the Heritage Council Virginia Teehan is available for interview. Please contact Pearse Ó Caoimh to arrange.


t. 085 859 0378