The Irish Government committed to the establishment of an Irish biodiversity database and a national biological data management system in Ireland’s first National Biodiversity Plan, published in 2002. In 2003, the Heritage Council submitted policy advice to the then Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government, under Section 6 of the Heritage Act (1995), and recommended the establishment of a National Biological Records Centre.
The Minister accepted the recommendations of the Council, and requested that the Heritage Council establish the Biological Records Centre. The Centre was established in late 2007, and became known as the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
The overarching mission of the National Biodiversity Data Centre is to provide national co-ordination and standards of biodiversity data and recording, assist the mainstreaming of biodiversity data and information into decision making, planning, conservation management and research, and encourage greater engagement by society in documenting and appreciating biodiversity.
The National Biodiversity Data Centre is governed by a Management Board, established by the Heritage Council of Ireland, a statutory advisory council. Representatives of a number of national institutions sit on the Board, including The Heritage Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service, National Museum of Ireland, National Botanic Gardens, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
Funding for the delivery of the core work programme is by way of a 5-year Service Level Agreement awarded to Compass Informatics by the Heritage Council for the running of the Data Centre. The funding for the contract is provided by both the Heritage Council and the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht.
The basic financial contribution to GBIF is made by the National Parks & Wildlife Service.