Politics

As the Minister for the Environment announces changes to control rural planning, FIE is pleased to publish its Parliamentary Reply of the Year. The question is from Independent Deputy Tony Gregory to John Gormley, Minister for the Environment:

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage, and Local Government the number of one-off houses outside areas zones for development in county development plans 2000 to 2005.

REPLY: While my Department compiles a broad range of housing statistics for publication in the quarterly Housing Bulletin, specific data are not available on the number of one-off houses built outside areas zoned for development.

 


In a further move to dismantle what was once one of the most open and democratic of planning systems, the Government has abolished the right of local authorities to consider major infrastructural project.

While claiming that this is due to delays like the archaeological finds at Carrickmines on Dublin's M50, in fact roads have already been excluded from the process under the 1993 Road Act and already are 'fast tracked' directly to the Board.

This legislation is aimed at people like the Mayo farmers who have spent 90 days in jail protesting at the planning route of at the Corrib gas pipeline beside their homes, and others fighting for their rights.

Read our [unreported] Press Release drawing attention to the fact that the 'participation fee' to be levied for comments on these projects will lead Ireland into the EU Court again.

And wait now for more legislation aimed to ensure that the Courts will also be required to 'fast track' major infrastructural projects., instead of simply funding the Courts to end delays of more a year simply to hear if leave for a Judicial Review can be heard.

In a further move to dismantle what was once one of the most open and democratic of planning systems, the Government has abolished the right of local authorities to consider major infrastructural project.

While claiming that this is due to delays like the archaeological finds at Carrickmines on Dublin's M50, in fact roads have already been excluded from the process under the 1993 Road Act and already are 'fast tracked' directly to the Board.

This legislation is aimed at people like the Mayo farmers who have spent 90 days in jail protesting at the planning route of at the Corrib gas pipeline beside their homes, and others fighting for their rights.

Read our [unreported] Press Release drawing attention to the fact that the 'participation fee' to be levied for comments on these projects will lead Ireland into the EU Court again.

And wait now for more legislation aimed to ensure that the Courts will also be required to 'fast track' major infrastructural projects., instead of simply funding the Courts to end delays of more a year simply to hear if leave for a Judicial Review can be heard.
Yale and Columbia Universities new Environmental Sustainability Index is published today at the World Economic Forum Davos, Switzerland. It purports to raise Ireland's comparative standing from 37 to 21. We suggest that the index raised Ireland's score because of issues like basic human sustenance, education and governance, even though it shows comparative deterioration in air quality, land use, waste, water stress and greenhouse gas emissions. The Index is produced in cooperation with the World Economic Forum. Economically, we are doing fine. Environmentally, we remain the 'dirty man' of Europe.

Read the Report.
Yale and Columbia Universities new Environmental Sustainability Index is published today at the World Economic Forum Davos, Switzerland. It purports to raise Ireland's comparative standing from 37 to 21. We suggest that the index raised Ireland's score because of issues like basic human sustenance, education and governance, even though it shows comparative deterioration in air quality, land use, waste, water stress and greenhouse gas emissions. The Index is produced in cooperation with the World Economic Forum. Economically, we are doing fine. Environmentally, we remain the 'dirty man' of Europe.

Read the Report.
Both the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, and the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, have spurned FIE's request to have the issue of mass balloon releases dealt with in Ireland.

FIE had sought their intervention after a recent ceremonyattended by the President in West Cork for the victims of the Air India disaster 20 years ago where a white balloon was released for each of the 325 victims.

While the industry is adamant that 95% of the balloons burst into harmless fragments at heights up to five miles above the sea, in fact 5% - 10% don't and can become 'marine debris' and a lethal hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for squid and other natural prey.

Read Our Press Release.

And Ryan Tubridy's interview with Tony Lowes on the balloon ban.

And read the support by Michael Viney in the Irish Times:
Drifting balloons can mean death for turtles
Both the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, and the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, have spurned FIE's request to have the issue of mass balloon releases dealt with in Ireland.

FIE had sought their intervention after a recent ceremonyattended by the President in West Cork for the victims of the Air India disaster 20 years ago where a white balloon was released for each of the 325 victims.

While the industry is adamant that 95% of the balloons burst into harmless fragments at heights up to five miles above the sea, in fact 5% - 10% don't and can become 'marine debris' and a lethal hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for squid and other natural prey.

Read Our Press Release.

And Ryan Tubridy's interview with Tony Lowes on the balloon ban.

And read the support by Michael Viney in the Irish Times:
Drifting balloons can mean death for turtles
The Government has thrown out the carefully considered Retail Planning Guidelines published just four years ago, removing all limits on the size of superstores and opening the way to out-of-town car based developments in 'gateway' Dublin, Cork, Galway, Sligo, Letterkenny, Waterford, and the Althlone-Tullamore-Mullingar triangle. No studies have been done to justify this u-turn. The developments will increase car dependency with its environmental costs and social imbalance. The change in policy is sparked by lobbying from IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant, who will use the M50- to access their superstore at Ballymun. And what was the final recommendation of the 2000 Guidelines?

'The fifth and final objective is a presumption against large retail centres located adjacent or close to existing, new, or planned national roads / motorways. Such centres lead to an inefficient use of costly and valuable infrastructure and serve to defeat the regional/national transport objectives of the roads concerned.'

The Government has thrown out the carefully considered Retail Planning Guidelines published just four years ago, removing all limits on the size of superstores and opening the way to out-of-town car based developments in 'gateway' Dublin, Cork, Galway, Sligo, Letterkenny, Waterford, and the Althlone-Tullamore-Mullingar triangle. No studies have been done to justify this u-turn. The developments will increase car dependency with its environmental costs and social imbalance. The change in policy is sparked by lobbying from IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant, who will use the M50- to access their superstore at Ballymun. And what was the final recommendation of the 2000 Guidelines?

'The fifth and final objective is a presumption against large retail centres located adjacent or close to existing, new, or planned national roads / motorways. Such centres lead to an inefficient use of costly and valuable infrastructure and serve to defeat the regional/national transport objectives of the roads concerned.'