Acting swiftly on FIE's complaint against the licence for the Airboat on the Blackwater River, filed only a week previously, the European Commission's Environmental Directorate has informed FIE that the complaint is justified.

'As you correctly mention, the Merchant Shipping Act 1992 is absent from the 2nd Schedule of the relevant statutory instrument, thus excluding the possibility of an 'appropriate assessment' of a type of activity that may constitute a project for the purposes of Article 6(3) and (4). The registration of a complaint would therefore be justified on this ground.'

FIE and the recently formed local group, the Blackwater Alliance, are awaiting replies from the Minister for State for the Marine Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher and Dick Roche, the Minister for the Environment. The Commission's swift response indicates the serious view they take of Ireland's failure to control jet skies, quad bikes, and other activities that are often irreversibly damaging areas which Ireland has the responsibility to protect.

Unless the Minister uses his powers to revoke the license and agrees to amend the legislation FIE will pursuer its complaint and the Government will find themselves subject to yet another EU Court case.

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