The Citizens' Assembly on Biodiversity Loss concluded its work at Malahide in Dublin this evening after agreeing the wording of almost 100 additional recommendations to protect nature and biodiversity.

The members of the Assembly will now vote on these proposed recommendations in an online ballot next week before a final report from the Assembly is placed before the Oireachtas in the weeks ahead.

This was the first Citizens' Assembly on Biodiversity Loss anywhere in the world and organisers believe its recommendations, if accepted by the Oireachtas, and acted upon, could potentially transform Ireland’s relationship with nature.

Today’s additional meeting arose because members sought further time to consider specific recommendations on: agriculture; freshwaters; marine and coastal environments; peatlands; forestry/woodlands/hedgerows; protected sites and species; invasive species; and urban and built environments.

These included issues such as encouraging people to less meat, as well as implementing and enforcing the cessation of turf cutting in protected areas.

This followed previous agreement by the Assembly to recommend the holding a national referendum on an amendment to the Constitution to protect biodiversity, and also a recommendation to radically overhaul the national approach to managing biodiversity loss.

Speaking at the conclusion of today's meeting in The Grand Hotel, Malahide, the Assembly Chairperson Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, paid tribute to the work, dedication, and insight the 99 other members of the Assembly brought to the discussions and highlighted their determination to rigorously identify real and practical solutions to address the biodiversity loss emergency.

Dr Ní Shúilleabháin said: "Since last April the members of the Assembly have given their time, energy, and commitment to consider all aspects of how we should address the real challenge of biodiversity loss.

"They have brought the perspectives of the entire country to our discussions – young and old, urban and rural, farmers, office-workers, students and retirees – as a truly representative group.

"They have heard from all sides and have discussed all the relevant issues. And they have produced 200 separate recommendations that will now be voted on and, if agreed, have the potential to radically transform Ireland’s approach to the natural environment.

"Alongside the recommendations that were agreed at our last meeting regarding a constitutional amendment and new centralised structures for co-ordinating and implementing national policy on biodiversity loss, the members have truly responded to the terms of reference to bring forward proposals to the Oireachtas that will address the biodiversity loss emergency.

"I look forward to the votes next week and the final report, and to seeing these proposed recommendations implemented over time."