|An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland|
|Motto||Working for a Better Quality of Life for Now and Future Generations|
|President||Professor John Sweeney|
|Chairperson of the Board||John Harnett|
An Taisce (Irish pronunciation: [an̪ˠ ˈt̪ˠaʃcə], meaning "the store" or "the treasury"), also known as the National Trust for Ireland, was established in 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. The organisation also holds a similar mission to that of the National Trust in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger was its first President.
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. It has recently taken a strong stand against the government and Royal Dutch Shell's plans to build an inland natural gas refinery in Erris (see Corrib gas project).
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 Dublin Transportation Office 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 Trusteeship 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 for weddings) and the restoration of important resources such as the Boyne Navigation.
The organisation comprises over 5,000 members; annual individual membership is €45. 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 policy committees, including:
- Natural Environment Committee
- Built Environment Committee
- Heritage Gardens and Designed Landscapes Sub-Committee
- Transport Committee
- Waste Committee
- Economics Committee
- Tailor's Hall, Back Lane, Dublin 8 (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 4
- The Gull Islands and Rough Island, Mulroy Bay, Co. Donegal
- Mongan Bog, County Offaly
- Mullaghmore, County Clare
- Oweninny Bog, County Mayo
- List of National Trust properties in Northern Ireland
- National Trust, with a listing of National Trusts worldwide