There are four classifications for protected species in Ireland. These include intermediate, rare, vulnerable and endangered. As a species moves from intermediate toward endangered it becomes increasingly at risk. Currently there are several birds, fish, amphibians and flowering plants, but no mammals or algae within the endangered classification.
In the intermediate category, fish, birds and mammals are listed. There are currently no intermediate flowering plants, algae or amphibians in this category within Ireland. Mammals are the least represented grouping with two species in this category while birds and fish have three species each. A few of the species in this list include the Barbastelle, Black-tailed Godwit, Corncrake, Eurasian Curlew, and the Eurasian Otter.
The rare category is made up of flowering plants, algae and mammals. Here too, mammals are the least represented with only one species in the category. At the opposite extreme, flowering plants are represented by 71 species while there are only three species of algae on the list. A very small sample of the species found in this list includes the Killarney Shad, European Eel, Eskimo Curlew, Blue Skate, Balearic Shearwater and the Angel Shark.
The list of vulnerable species contains flowering plants, algae, fish and birds, but no mammals or amphibians. Here too, flowering plants top the chart with 41 species being represented while algae only had five. Fish and birds are tied for the low end of this category with three species of each being represented in Ireland. In this list you will find the Atlantic Stream Crayfish, Broad Sea Fan, Common Smoothhound, Common Thresher Shark, Deepwater Spiny Dogfish, Gillaroo, Haddock, Porbeagle, Shortfin Mako and the Smooth Hammerhead.
This brings us to the most severely at risk category of endangered species in Ireland. In this category there are six flowering plants (Marsh saxifrage, Serrated wintergreen, Meadow saffron, Cottonweed, Meadow saxifrage, Rough poppy), one amphibian (Natterjack toad), three fish (Allis shad, Killarney shad, Pollan), and eight birds (Common scoter, Hen harrier, Grey partridge, Corncrake, Red-necked phalarope, Nightjar, Roseate tern, Corn bunting). There are no endangered mammals or algae in Ireland.