In October 2017, Ireland’s 3rd National Biodiversity Action Plan, for the period 2017-2021 was launched with 7 objectives supported by 119 targeted actions. 

Target 4.4 states that:

Harmful invasive alien species are controlled and there is reduced risk of introduction and/or spread of new species.

There are 7 supporting actions for this target:
  1. Ratify the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments
  2. Develop national and whole island plans to implement the EU Invasive Alien Species (IAS) Regulation and relevant sections of Ireland’s EU (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 including: development and adoption of biosecurity plans in relevant state bodies; a Rapid Response Protocol for the island of Ireland; coordination and collation of invasive species surveillance and monitoring data; and work with Northern Ireland and UK authorities on invasive species of mutual concern.
  3. Continue and enhance measures for eradication, where feasible, control and containment of invasive species
  4. Encourage horticultural nurseries to produce native species, varieties and landraces from appropriate native sources for public and private sector plantings. Public bodies will endeavour to plant native species in order to reduce importation of non-native species, varieties and landraces.
  5. Continue to produce Risk Assessments for potentially invasive non-native species.
  6. Publish legislation to address required provisions under the EU Regulation on invasive alien species (No. 1143/2014) and on responsibilities and powers regarding invasive alien species, giving IFI responsibility for aquatic invasive species.
  7. Work with horticultural and pet trades to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive alien species.


In September 2011, comprehensive regulations which address deficiencies in Irish law implementing the EU Birds and Habitats Directives were signed into law. The European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 contain important new provisions to address the problem of invasive species. A blacklist of unwanted species is set out in the Regulations.

It will be an offence without a licence, to release or allow to disperse or escape, to breed, propagate, import, transport, sell or advertise such species.

The two regulations that deal specifically with these scheduled lists of species are:

Regulation 49: Prohibition on introduction and dispersal of certain species

Regulation 50: Prohibition on dealing in and keeping certain species (Regulation 50 is not yet in effect) 

View the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 [SI. 477]

If you have any queries on the above policy or legislation please e-mail and we will try to provide additional information or clarification. Otherwise, contact National Parks and Wildlife Service

Invasive Species Northern Ireland

Invasive Species Northern Ireland