“Corrib Gas Pipeline Decision legally flawed” An Taisce

20th January 2011
Press Release

An Taisce contends that the decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant permission to the latest Corrib gas pipeline application is fundamentally legally flawed on a number of grounds. Chair of An Taisce Charles Stanley-Smith in commenting on the decision stated: “In many decisions in the past An Bord Pleanála has been a shining beacon. However this latest decision represents a further nail in the coffin of proper Regulation in Ireland. It highlights that poor planning, which was at the heart of Ireland’s banking failure and consequent economic collapse, continues to be a major issue. An Bord Pleanála is the independent body appointed to decide on major planning matters. An Taisce believes that in this decision, the Board has failed to properly take account of the legislative requirements of the Habitats, Birds and Environmental Impact Assessment Directives and An Taisce detailed such issues in its substantial submissions made to the Board. This grant of approval flies in the face of a number of European Court of Justice Rulings and indeed sets the Board up as contending it has more insight into the law than the Supreme Court of Ireland, on matters such as the integrity of Natura 2000 sites.”

Mr Stanley-Smith continued to say: “The implications of this decision go far beyond the Corrib gas pipeline and have major implications for the status of implementation of European Directives in Ireland, particularly the Habitat’s Directive. The Board has effectively called into question the competence of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the designation of Natura 2000 sites throughout the state with this decision.”

An Taisce further contends that given the manner of operation of the gas market and ownership of the gas in the field, there is no strategic national significance to this field and this application and questions that any benefit to the state will ever accrue. The matter of our squandered heritage from this and other so called ‘Strategic Investments’, without ensuring any benefit to the taxpayer and any appropriate protection for the environment, continues to be an untold scandal in the eyes of An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland.

The two Green Ministers, for Energy and the Environment have applications associated with this Corrib gas pipeline on their desks and Mr Stanley-Smith called on them to refuse those applications in light of the issues the applications raise in terms of European Law. He indicated that: “Ireland has the highest per capita level of actions and judgements by the European Court of Justice against any nation state in relation to breaches of Environmental Directives, namely Waste, Water, Environmental Impact Assessment, Birds and Habitats. It would be an admirable legacy if the Green Ministers were to ensure their last Ministerial actions did not add to Ireland’s environmental and financial liability”

Mr Stanley-Smith called on Minister Gormley and Minister Ryan to immediately refuse the applications for the foreshore licence, plan of development and section 40 consents for the Corrib pipeline. An Taisce contends that this development, along with all developments, must be done right in accordance with the law,

An Taisce indicated they would be reviewing the decision and the 58 conditions in full before embarking on the necessary responses to this decision.

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For further comment contact: Charles Stanley-Smith Chairperson of An Taisce: 087 2411995

Attracta Uí Bhroin: Chair of Communications, An Taisce: 087 291 4061

We can make our submission to An Bord Pleanála available to you if you require.