Economic Benefits for the Irish nature
Ireland’s economic debt crisis hit a critical point in 2010 when it became the second EU Member State to receive EU financial aid. Since joining the European Union, Ireland has been a net recipient country of EU funds. However, its use of European funding has had no long-term impact on its financial stability. Ireland, being part of the EU for almost 40 years, is one of the oldest Member States. Having received almost (net) EUR 40 billion from the EU budget since 1973, Ireland’s position as a net recipient will change in 2013.
Ireland’s opportunity for economic prosperity will be linked to its investment priorities, especially within local economies and their environment. Recently, Ireland has insisted that exports of food production and energy will be its way out of the crisis. History has shown that unsustainable production in these two sectors will greatly hamper long term economic sustainability and environmental credibility.
The evident link between ecosystem services and their economic value has largely not been recognised in Ireland. The benefits of ecosystem services in Ireland are estimated at over EUR 2.6 billion/year. Investing in nature and biodiversity can provide a wide range of ecosystem services including clean water and air, climatic regulation, crop pollination, and natural hazards mitigation.
In investing in its environment, Ireland would be leveraging local economies. Furthermore, not investing will lead to further economic loss in the form of future costs incurred. The lack of policy action to halt the loss of biodiversity in Europe will, by 2050, cost the European society EUR 1.1 trillion per year.