Jennifer Whitmore TD

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore has criticised Minister Eamon Ryan’s attempts to distance himself from the Irish Government’s objection to the ‘Swiss Grannies’ climate case taken in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on climate and biodiversity, said:

“The Minister is trying to blame a badly worded response to a parliamentary question for suggesting he had personally sought the Government’s approval to send a legal team to Strasbourg last year to object to a landmark case being taken in the ECHR.

“The court ruled that the Swiss government had violated the human rights of a group representing 2,400 older women due to weak climate policies – a ruling that will put European countries, including Ireland, under legal pressure to meet their targets.

“Minister Ryan’s statement is a desperate attempt to rewrite history. Reading it, one would assume he was a staunch supporter of the seminal climate case taken to the ECHR. The reality is that his Government went to extraordinary lengths to fight the case.

“The Minister blames the Attorney General for initiating the State’s failed legal action. The fact is that the AG can only provide advice. It is the Minister, as a member of Cabinet, who signed off on this approach.

“It is important to note that Ireland and Switzerland were the only countries to intervene in the case in this manner – sending their own legal teams to argue against it. This was done for one reason only – to avoid accountability in international courts for the failure by the State to meet its climate targets.

“The Minister should hold his hands up, accept he got this wrong – and vow to never again use the State’s limited resources to fight against climate justice.”

April 24, 2024

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