Country profile - Distinguishing factors (Ireland)
Ireland’s location on the western edge of the European continent is a very obvious driver of the diversity that sets the state apart from the continent of Europe. History and religion, climate and geology - which themselves have all been influenced by that physical location – have also played an important part in the development of the modern state. These factors have shaped political, economic and social development and the evolution of governance practices including environmental protection and management.
The Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DEHLG) has primary responsibility for environmental policy. In some areas, such as in climate change, responsibility rests across a number of departments including the DEHLG, Department of Transport, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The implementation of national policy often falls under the remit of local government (i.e., Local Authorities). Local Authorities have responsibility for local development and waste management planning, as well as the enforcement of environmental regulations in their functional area. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a statutory body responsible for protecting the environment, including the licensing and enforcement of activities with the potential to cause serious pollution.