SOIL INVADERS: Why are invasive plants spreading out of control in Ireland?
40 Backers raised €892 of €2940

Invasive alien species are a threat to Ireland’s native plants, human health and economy.

Giant hogweed’s sap can cause severe burns and scarring, rhododendron engulfs native forests and national parks, and Japanese knotweed’s ability to grow through concrete makes it a “disaster” for property.

Yet no management policy exists to deal with these threats. Our investigation will find out why not.


There is no overall guiding policy on management of invasive plant species for the island of Ireland, according to a 2021 Environmental Protection Agency report which recommended a biosecurity steering group be established.

A 2014 EU regulation hoped to address the management of these species, giving Member States deadlines and targets, including devising action plans by August 2019.

Yet, Ireland has failed to implement the measures and was referred to the European Court of Justice in 2023 for continued inaction.

We will speak to experts and request records via Freedom of Information in order to find out why the EU regulations still aren’t in place.

In the absence of comprehensive national regulations, we want to find out what is being done. Our reporters will delve into how the State is tackling invasive plant species at a national as well as local level.

Government grants of almost €400,000 were allocated to local authorities in 2021 to tackle invasive species, while further funding was allocated to areas including Connemara National Park for rhododendron clearing. We want to investigate the funding allocated and find out if this is sufficient to tackle the problem.

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You can contact us at and find out how we work here. Our investigations are sourced from and crowdfunded by the public.

40 Backers raised €892 of €2940
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