State has failed to provide legal protection for 217 out of 423 sites identified as requiring formal designation as Special Areas of Conservation
The Government’s green credentials lie in tatters after Ireland was found guilty by the European Court of Justice of multiple breaches of laws to protect nature, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.
Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on climate and biodiversity, said:
“In a damning finding, the court ruled that the State has failed to provide legal protection for 217 out of 423 sites identified as requiring formal designation as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). These sites were identified almost two decades ago and were supposed to be written into law within a six-year period.
“The court also found that Ireland had failed to even define detailed site-specific conservation objectives for 140 of the 423 sites. In addition, none of the 423 sites had been given adequate attention to ensure that the necessary conservation measures were in place in relation to the ecological requirements of the natural habitat types, or the animal and plant life they support.
“Lack of compliance by successive governments gave the European Commission no choice but to initiate a court case against the State 10 years ago, which is how we have arrived at this embarrassing position today.
“It is disgraceful – but not surprising – that Ireland is in breach of its EU obligations when it comes to protecting nature. Despite claiming to have green credentials, this Government continues to pay lip service to environmental issues, from its incoherent messaging on Nature Restoration Law to the lack of progress in reaching our climate change targets.”
June 29, 2023