From Socialist Voice, June 2011

Legal challenge to Government betrayal

Successive Governments have not only signed away all profits from the minerals extracted from our land and sea but, it appears, have acted illegally and have made the Irish people liable for massive fines imposed by the European Union. An Taisce, a voluntary body, intends to reverse these illegal and highly contentious actions by Government ministers, which amount to acts of treason.
     Last month in the Supreme Court Mr Justice Peart granted leave to An Taisce to pursue a judicial review case on the Corrib gas pipeline. This is a legal challenge to the final act of the previous minister, Pat Carey, on 25 February before leaving office. On that date Carey signed a letter granting the new consents applied for by Shell E&P Ireland Ltd for the Corrib pipeline development under section 40 of the Gas Act (1976), as amended, and for the plan of development under the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act (1960).
     This is further to the judicial review being pursued by An Taisce on a consent granted by An Bord Pleanála in January 2010.
     The chairperson of An Taisce, Charles Stanley-Smith, pointed to the “huge irony” in the fact that it is the Irish state (i.e. its citizens) that will be liable for fines of several million euros, as a result of its government’s granting of consents that are in violation of EU law.
     Despite the fact that the Irish state will not benefit financially from the gas extracted, it will have to pay fines for non-compliance with EU directives on environmental management.
     An Taisce is organising nationwide screenings of the acclaimed documentary film The Pipe to help raise funds for its legal challenge.
■ More information is available at the organisation’s web site, www.antaisce.ie.
[MNM]
An Taisce is a voluntary body set up in 1948 to protect the natural, built and social heritage of Ireland. In the words of one of its founders, Robert Lloyd Praeger, “things of natural beauty or of human interest . . . need protection against dilapidation, against sequestration for private ends, and in recent times, against the actions of public bodies.”
     And, more recently, Éanna Ní Lamhna: “Our land, so dearly won back after eight hundred years of oppression and conquest, was not won so that people could treat it in ways that disregard the common good.”

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