Towards an Integrated Policy Framework for Marine Spatial Planning in Ireland

We are pleased to welcome you to our project Towards an Integrated Policy Framework for Marine Spatial Planning in Ireland. In light of the recent adoption of the Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Directive in the summer of 2014, Ireland’s greatest challenge will be to overcome the lack of integration in marine governance. Click here to download the MSP Brochure

While there is little cooperation and coordination to cover the regulation of human activities at sea and on the foreshore, the overarching objectives for Ireland are to protect fragile species and habitats and to maintain the Good Environmental Status of Irish marine waters.

The marine environment is currently governed by a fragmented policy framework, which is not suited to securing environmental and planning objectives. The new MSP Directive must be transposed into national law by September 2016 and marine plans must be prepared by March 2021. This is a short period within which to implement the Directive.

Aims and Objectives:

In light of the impending implementation, the overall aim of the project is:

To inform the development of an integrated policy framework for marine spatial planning in Ireland.

There are six objectives for the project as follows:

Objective 1: To establish the state of knowledge and main issues in this area in Ireland and abroad.

Objective 2: To isolate and learn from successes and failures in integrated marine management policy frameworks in Ireland and abroad. 

Objective 3: To identify key concerns and challenges in this area, with key stakeholders and policy-makers.

Objective 4: To establish the role and potential of different approaches to MSP and related policy in Ireland.

Objective 5: To set out the priorities and elements of an effective framework for integrated policy for MSP in Ireland.

Objective 6: To maximize the impact of the research on policy-making, plan-making, decision-making and public interest domains.

Project funding:

This project is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency under the EPA Research Programme 2014-2020 under grant reference number 2014-SE-DS-1.

Project Partners and Team:

The partners in the project are the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and MacCabe Durney Barnes (MDB). Conor Norton, the Research Director, will carry out the research with Dr Deiric O’Broin, the programme chair of the MSc Local Development and Innovation. Dr Wesley Flannery, from Queen’s University Belfast, whose key research interests are in marine spatial planning and stakeholder participation also forms part of the team, with Jerry Barnes of MacCabe Durney Barnes, as the project manager. The team will be assisted by two research assistants, Cillian Adamson of DIT and Sybil Berne of MDB.

News, Blog and Publications:

30.03.2016: Maritime Spatial Plans in Ireland

15.10.2015: Obtaining Views

18.05.2014: Preparing the Present for a Better Future

This section will be regularly updated and blog posts will be posted as the project progresses. Please keep an eye on this website or our Linkedin profiles for updates.

Contact Us:

If you have any queries or comments, please email us at