THE Government is to spend more than €250,000 on a new scheme to monitor Ireland's bats.
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht says they are seeking an "expert contractor" to undertake the new study which will run between 2015 and 2018.
It is estimated that the programme, which will be run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, will cost the taxpayer between €220,000 and €250,000, excluding VAT.
However, despite the high cost, a spokesperson for department insisted the study would "represent very good value for money".
It also hopes to save a considerable sum by commissioning "volunteer citizen bat experts" to help in the research.
The new monitoring plan will bring together four previous bat monitoring surveys under one contract. The Bat Monitoring Scheme for Ireland - as it will be called - will provide monitoring data for seven individual species across the country.
The study will examine threats to the bat population.