Supreme Court Judgement upholds An Taisce's Role in Enforcement Against Unauthorised Development

7th November 2018
Press Release

The Supreme Court today made an important judgement upholding the integrity of the Irish Planning process in making an order against the continued operation of an unauthorised quarry in Co. Galway in a case taken by An Taisce.

The case related to the continued operation, without planning permission, of a quarry operated by McTigue Quarries Ltd near Tuam, Co Galway, on which Galway County Council were failing to take enforcement action. An Taisce sought High Court enforcement action under Section 160 of the Planning and Development Act 2000. In his High Court judgement, Mr Justice Barrett ruled that while the operation of the quarry was unauthorised, no enforcement order was issued with regard to its continued operation. In his justification for this, Mr Justice Barrett included as a consideration the absence of any involvement of Galway County Council in taking enforcement action.

An Taisce appealed the judgment to the Supreme Court on the basis that the High Court judgement undermined the efficacy of the Section 160 legal entitlement by the public and environmental organisations to seek action against unauthorised development. The lack of enforcement meant that a quarry operating with Environmental Impact Assessment required under National and EU law was intrinsically damaging and undermined the integrity of the planning process.

It its Judgment of the 7th November, the Supreme Court reversed the High Court decision to issue no enforcement order. The judgement also referred to correspondence, which was cited in the case suggesting that Galway County Council has been a customer of the quarry, "using stone won from it for infrastructural development work. If true there is risk of conflict of role in such circumstances."

An Taisce spokesperson Advocacy Officer Ian Lumley stated that:

"The Supreme Court Judgement is an important decision in upholding the integrity of the Irish planning process, in effecting action against unauthorised development where in this case Galway County Council fails to exercise its responsibilities.

The decision also upholds the right of environmental organisations, including An Taisce and the public in general, to seek and achieve effective action against unauthorised development."

ENDS

For further information, contact:
Ian Lumley, An Taisce Advocacy Officer: +353 1 454 1786
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

Notes

About An Taisce

An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage. We are an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues. We are not a government body, semi-state or agency. Founded in 1948, we are one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations.