Members of Moville's Community For A Clean Estuary are attending a European Commission hearing in Brussels on Monday 23 March 2015. They are taking a complaint against Ireland in relation to compliance with European Directive 85/337 and its access to justice provisions in respect of a waste water treatment proposal at Moville, Co Donegal Ireland. The complaint concerns a Judicial Review in the High Court Dublin before judge John Hedigan on the 5th and 8th March 2013 in case no 2011 947/J.R. Craig v An Bord Pleanala.
The Complaint to the European Commission was lodged on 30th Dec 2013. The Community For A Clean Estuary beleive that they were denied rights to environmental protection under EC law. When an Bord Pleanala granted permission for the sewage scheme in 2011 they sought a Judicicial Review of that decision. This took place in the High Court Dublin from March 5th to March 8th 2013. A request for a preliminary ruling by the ECJ on the applicability of EIA Directives at the outset of the High Court proceeding was refused and the hearing proceeded. The applicant's case was based on the environmental provisions of EC Directive 85/337 as affirmed by the ECJ ruling concerning Ireland in case C50-09. The judgement of the High Court was given against was given against the applicant on 26th August 2013.
Mr Enda Craig, chairperson Community For A Clean Estuary said the judgement made it clear that
The High Court failed to uphold the Court of Justice ruling in case C50-09 and relied on a narrow judicial review test, quoting precedents O'Keeffe, McKechnie in Kenny vs An Bord Pleanala and others. This was not consistent with the requirement in the EIA Directive that the right to challenge relates to procedural and substantive legality and not to procedural legality only.
The High Court failed to provide access to justice as provided in EIA Directives
Mr Craig said Appeal to the Supreme Court was not financilly possible for local citizens already struggling to pay for their own accrued expenses to date. This was further quashed when the potential for award of all legal expenses for both sides aginst the applicant was raised.
The outcome of this environmental case will have far reaching consequences not only in relation to the quality of our seas around Inishowen and Ireland generally but it will throw doubts on some domestic legislation and planning. Not only will it impact on the treatment of sewage and its discharge to the Foyle estuary, it will also impact on sewage discharge nationally and in particular the discharge of sewage into the Swilly. Enda Craig is chairperson of Community For A Clean Estuary, 00353749382990, firstname.lastname@example.org . See http://savethefoyle.com/ for full details