Activities or developments which require a licence under the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended.


A foreshore licence is required by any person proposing to place any material or to place or erect any articles, things, structures, or works in or on foreshore or to get and take any minerals in foreshore or to use or occupy foreshore for any purpose unless exempt under other legislation or due to existing rights.

“Foreshore” means the bed and shore, below the line of high water of ordinary or medium tides, of the sea and of every tidal river and tidal estuary and of every channel, creek, and bay of the sea or of any such river or estuary.

Under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive, any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site, but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site's conservation objectives.

In the light of the conclusions of the assessment of the implications for the site and subject to the provisions of paragraph 4, the competent national authorities shall agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned and, if appropriate, after having obtained the opinion of the general public.

National Parks and Wildlife Service guidance states that the overall aim of the Habitats Directive is to maintain or restore the favourable conservation status of habitats and species of community interest. These habitats and species are listed in the Habitats and Birds Directives and Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas are designated to afford protection to the most vulnerable of them.

These two designations are collectively known as the Natura 2000 network. European and national legislation places a collective obligation on Ireland and its citizens to maintain habitats and species in the Natura 2000 network at favourable conservation condition. The Government and its agencies are responsible for the implementation and enforcement of regulations that will ensure the ecological integrity of these sites.

Applicants should also have regard to the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive when preparing a foreshore consent application.

In considering an application for a foreshore licence, the Minister will also consider whether it is in the public interest to grant a licence.

The following are examples of developments and activities that require a foreshore licence under the Foreshore Act prior to carrying out any developments or activities on the Foreshore:

  • Cable installation
  • Dredging works
  • Coastal protection works
  • Site investigations – geophysical and geotechnical
  • Marine environmental surveys
  • Discharge/Outfall pipe
  • Seaweed harvesting
  • One day events e.g. beach horse racing
  • Commercial filming.

The list is not exhaustive as a licence is required to use or occupy foreshore for any purpose unless exempt under other legislation or due to existing rights. It should be noted that the Department has a broad remit in relation to the licensing and leasing of activities and developments under the Foreshore Act, as amended.

Further information on consented to and active Foreshore projects is available on the Department's website.

A foreshore lease may be required under section 2 of the Foreshore Act for a development that requires exclusive occupation of the foreshore. Developments requiring a lease would include, for example - jetties, bridges, piers, marinas and reclamation of any foreshore.

If you are unsure whether or not a foreshore consent is required for a proposed activity or developments, please complete and submit a Pre Application.