An Taisce - The National Trust for Ireland (Irish pronunciation: [an̪ˠ ˈt̪ˠaʃcə], meaning "the store" or "the treasury"), was established in June 1948. It considers itself the oldest environmental and non-governmental organisation in Ireland. It has a wide-ranging public interest mandate in relation to the environmental. Naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger was its first President.
|Motto||Working for a Better Quality of Life for Now and Future Generations|
|Formation||28 June 1948|
Chairperson of the Board
It is not a state or semi-state organisation, rather a membership-based charity. However, it receives government funding for specific programmes, such as Blue Flag beaches, Green Schools and the annual National Spring Clean.
The Planning Acts provide for An Taisce and about 20 other prescribed bodies to be informed of all planning applications in areas of scenic beauty or high amenity significance; where architectural, archaeological or environmental issues need to be considered. Local authorities are required, in certain defined circumstances under the Planning & Development Regulations, to consult An Taisce on development proposals. Therefore, its range of expertise extends across Ireland's natural, built, and social heritage. It seeks to educate, inform, and lead public opinion on the environment; to advocate and influence policy; and manage heritage properties.
The organisation is split into three operational divisions:
- Environmental Education Unit operates nationwide programmes on behalf of the Irish government's Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the National Transport Authority and the European Union, such as the Blue Flag water quality accreditation programme and Green Schools Programme that aims to promote higher environmental standards in schools.
- The Environmental Advocacy Unit monitors roughly 5% of all planning (local authority development consent) applications made annually making submissions on a small number of those received and appealing about 300 applications a year to An Bord Pleanála, the statutory planning appeals board. The Advocacy Unit also monitors environmental standards and co-ordinates policy formation from the elected advocacy committees amongst the membership.
- The Properties Unit takes ownership of and looks after properties that have either historical significance or are environmentally sensitive. The properties listed below are taken care of by both professional staff and volunteers who are involved with the day-to-day management of income generating properties such as Tailors Hall (also available for private hire) and the restoration of important resources such as the Boyne Navigation.
The organisation comprises over 5,000 members; annual individual membership is €45, with discounts made for students and other groups. They are organised into 15 local organisations and these report to a 50-person Ruling Council. The Council elects a board of management and other internal policy and operational committees.
- Tailor's Hall, Back Lane, Dublin (headquarters employing 17 staff)
- Kanturk Castle, County Cork
- Booterstown marsh Nature Reserve, Dublin
- Boyne Navigation and Towpath, County Meath
- Old Courthouse, Howth, County Dublin
- The Crane, Gort Weigh House, County Galway
- Crocknafarragh, County Donegal
- The Grove, Morehampton Road Wildlife Sanctuary, Dublin
- The Gull Islands and Rough Island, Mulroy Bay, County Donegal
- Mongan Bog, County Offaly
- Mullaghmore, County Clare
- Oweninny Bog, County Mayo
- National Trust, with a listing of National Trusts worldwide