Ireland’s new Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA)

The Maritime Area Regulatory Authority, or MARA, is a new state agency that was established on 17th July 2023. MARA’s functions are set out in the Maritime Area Planning Acts 2021 and 2022, and it will have a key role to play in the new streamlined consenting system for the maritime area, including:

  • Assessing Maritime Area Consent (MAC) applications for the maritime area, which are required by developers before development permission can be granted;
  • Granting marine licencing for specified activities;
  • Compliance and enforcement of MACs, licences and offshore development consents;
  • Investigations and prosecutions;
  • Administration of the existing Foreshore consent portfolio;
  • Fostering & promoting co-operation between regulators of the maritime area.

MARA is a body under the aegis of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and is located in Wexford.

If you would like more information about MARA and its functions, or on any aspect of the new planning system for Ireland’s maritime area, please contact MARA at: info@mara.gov.ie

Ireland's Maritime Area Boundary Map
Ireland’s Maritime Area

Did You Know…?

  • Ireland’s maritime area is seven times the size of its landmass. When the seabed is included, Ireland is one of the largest EU countries. Its 7,500km of coastline is longer than that of most EU countries. Seventy-five per cent of Ireland’s population live in coastal counties.
  • The Maritime Area Planning Act establishes a new planning system for Ireland’s maritime area, underpinned by a statutory Marine Planning Policy Statement and guided by the National Marine Planning Framework.
  • The new marine planning system consists of a licencing and development management regime from the high water mark to the outer limit of the State’s continental shelf, administered by MARA, An Bord Pleanála, and the coastal local authorities.
  • MARA will be a key enabler in respect of Ireland’s ambitions for the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) sector. It will also support delivery of other projects of strategic importance (including cabling and telecoms projects, ports development, drainage projects, sewerage schemes etc.), facilitating the State to harness significant benefits from realising a low-carbon economy, ensuring energy security, and presenting new opportunities for economic growth.
Wind Turbines in Maritime Area