Which Maritime Spatial Plans Exist?

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has been developing Ireland’s National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF), which will be Ireland’s national marine plan. A first NMPF draft was published in November 2019, and was open for public consultation until April 2020.

The DHPLG is in the final stages of consideration of the consultation submissions relating to the draft National Marine Policy Framework (NMPF). There are over 3,500 comments to consider from 225 submissions including those provided by neighbouring states.

As chapters are amended, relevant Government Departments are consulted to obtain approval for the updates being made.

A final version of the plan is to be submitted to the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) for consideration before the end of 2020 as required by the legislation underpinning marine spatial planning in Ireland. Once this is complete the NMPF will need Ministerial sign-off before being published, which we expect in the first quarter of 2021.

The NMPF will be the overarching framework for decision making that is consistent, evidence-based and secures a sustainable future for the marine area.

A previous milestone in the process was publication of and consultation on a report setting out the context in which the NMPF is to be developed and which helped to identify the key issues marine planning needs to address. The National Marine Planning Framework Baseline Report was published on 18th September 2018.  A series of regional public and stakeholder events were held nationally throughout October 2018 to launch the report and to inform and support public and stakeholders’ participation.

The Irish Government had already defined an Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland in 2012 (Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth), which set out the national vision, high-level goals, and key ‘enabling’ actions to put in place the appropriate policy, governance and business climate to enable Ireland’s marine potential to be realised.

MSP Legislation

The MSP Directive was originally transposed into national legislation by way of regulations made in 2016 (SI 352 of 2016). Since the regulations were made under the European Communities Act 1972, they were strictly limited to measures required to transpose the Directive. In October 2018, the regulations were repealed and replaced by Part 5 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018.

National MSP Authority

Ireland’s Competent Authority for MSP is the Department for Housing, Planning and Local Government


Marine Planning Policy and Development Section
Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
Newtown Road
Wexford Y35 AP90



Last Update 01.12.2020