New investment and more staff for the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) have been announced following a review of the organisation.

The Cabinet has approved an extra €55 million as part of a package, which was launched by Minister of State Malcolm Noonan later today.

The service has had its budget increased over the last two years, back to levels not seen since before the economic crash.

But its responsibilities are increasing too as it will be a key agency for dealing with the biodiversity emergency.

As well as additional funding, the new package also announced early recruitment of an extra 60 staff.

It will also see the establishment of the NPWS as an executive agency within the Department of Housing giving it the same status as other bodies, such as Met Éireann.

A review of the service that has informed the new strategic plan was also published today.

Part of its brief was to look at the ability of the service to enforce environmental protection laws.

Launching the plan, Minister Noonan said that the NPWS's internal structures will be overhauled and that the new funding commitment will "enable the NPWS to embrace Ireland's ambitions for nature and help us begin to turn the tide on biodiversity loss".