The environment and its protection are not stand-alone issues; they are bound up intimately with social and economic issues. Some view environmental regulation as a burden on business, which increases inefficiency and lower competitiveness. The recent global collapse however of the banking and financial sectors should be a warning that the planet, which provides all of our resources for living, needs to be protected.

The aim must be to develop sustainably; that is, a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met into the future. Indeed, the incorporation of environmental considerations into social and economic plans and programmes is one of the main environmental challenges facing Ireland at present. Given the current backdrop of austerity, and notwithstanding the recent withdrawal of the troika, it is more essential than ever that the environment is protected adequately to ensure its sustained use for generations to come.

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