The first phase of a new initiative developed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to bring licence applications online has been launched by Minister of State at the Department of Heritage Malcolm Noonan.

Applications for deer hunting licences for the coming season can now be submitted to the NPWS through a new heritage licensing portal.

The portal will be expanded over time to become a one-stop-shop for all heritage licences. The portal is one of the flagship projects of the Department’s Heritage ICT modernisation programme and will deliver a modern, fast, efficient licencing process.

Those applying for deer hunting licences for the 2024/2025 season will be the first group to avail of the new online system.


In addition to processing licence applications, hunting returns can be added incrementally throughout the year. Applications for other licences will be managed through the portal in due course.

Minister Noonan said this “modern, flexible and citizen-focused approach to issuing licences will also bring about benefits for nature".

"Deer are an integral part of the Irish landscape, but overgrazing is putting pressure on our woodlands and peatlands habitats. Preventing wild deer from accessing these habitats is challenging and hunters are a major line of defence in protecting them.

"This new development will provide a more efficient, user-friendly process, which will support them to play their part in the overall management of the deer population and in particular hotspots.”

Benefit applicants

The new system will benefit applicants in a number of ways. Once they have set up an individual account, each applicant will be able to manage their licence applications and returns.

They will be able to track the progress of their application and access their licence documentation online when approved.

Applicants may also add hunting returns throughout the year, before submitting them at the end of the season in advance of applying the following year.

Director general of the NPWS Niall Ó Donnchú said: “[The] NPWS has been in a phase of renewal since the launch of our strategic action plan in 2023.

"The delivery of initiatives such as e-licensing demonstrate our commitment to a high level of service to both stakeholders and the public.

"This new system has been enhanced by engagement with hunting organisations and stakeholders and I would like to thank them for their contribution. We look forward to their engagement as we further develop this system to support other licence applications.”