Bats are nocturnal mammals, often to be found living largely unnoticed in buildings and bridges close to trees, hedgerows and rivers, where they forage for insects. As a species they are increasingly under threat from habitat loss, often due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the needs of this animal.
There are now ten known species of bat to be found in Ireland, following the first confirmed record for Brandts Bat at Glendalough in 2003.
All bats are protected under the Wildlife Acts. Where bat roosts are known to occur on the site of a proposed development, the National Parks and Wildlife Service or a trained bat worker should be contacted for advice. It is an offence under the Wildlife Act (1976 & 2000) to intentionally disturb, kill or injure a bat or its resting place, so any work must be carried out with advice and under licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
More information on bats can be found in the Conserving Bats guide, which was produced by the Local Authority Heritage Officer Network in association with The Heritage Council.
Further details on mitigation measures for avoidance of disturbance to bats can be found in the Bat Mitigation Guidelines For Ireland, produced by the NPWS.