Protected Areas

As Friends of the Irish Environment have called on the Minister for Communications, Marine, and Natural Resources to suspend the license issued for an Airboat on the River Blackwater, the European Commission's has initiated proceedings against Ireland for not preventing jet skis and quad bikes from damaging areas designated under the Habitats Directive.'

Read Our Press Release

And read about yesterdays EU Court Judgement that will make environmental infringements into crimes...


As Friends of the Irish Environment have called on the Minister for Communications, Marine, and Natural Resources to suspend the license issued for an Airboat on the River Blackwater, the European Commission's has initiated proceedings against Ireland for not preventing jet skis and quad bikes from damaging areas designated under the Habitats Directive.'

Read Our Press Release

And read about yesterdays EU Court Judgement that will make environmental infringements into crimes...

The European Commission has sent Ireland a Formal Notice after FIE lodged a complaint about the unauthorised filling of wetlands forming part a proposed Natura 2000 site at Oranmore, County Galway. In its letter, the Commission has 'pointed to the apparent lack of enforcement action with regard to unlawful infilling of wetlands'. The Commission went on to state that our complaint 'appears to reflect wider legislative and administrative weaknesses in relation to the safeguarding of proposed Irish Natura 2000 sites.' The Irish authorities have two months in which to respond. Letters of Formal Notice are the first written warning in the Commission's judicial process that can lead to European Court of Justice Judgements against a member state and, ultimately, daily fines until the necessary changes have been implemented.

Oranmore has seen explosive development over the past few years. Land on the seaward side of Oranmore is not protected and hundred of new houses have been built, many on reclaimed fen.

The construction of the Oranmore Bypass in the early 1990's resulted in the partial infilling of the Moneymore Fen. Many acres of fen were illegally filled with construction waste, in spite of the fens designation as a Special Area of Conservation / Natura 2000 site.

Infilling began at the neighbouring Carrowmore Marsh, also designated, in May of 1999 and continued until May 2003, when FIE was asked by local residents for assistance. Mounds of excavated material have been spread over pristine wetland by bulldozers.

FIE saw correspondence from the (now disbanded) Duchas's National Parks and Wildlife Service stating that they had written to Galway County Council on numerous occasions without success. The Irish authorities must now convince the Commission that administrative and legal measures have been taken to ensure that Ireland's wetlands receive effective protection.

The Commission will inform FIE of the Irish authorities' response.

Ten years and ten days after the Kildare Bypass oral hearing closed in 1993 the original budget of 36 million has turned out to cost 160 million. Delay in Ministerial consent alone cost 3 ¬? years. The decision to proceed in 1997 ignored the advice of the Government's Office of Public Works that the road would dewater the Curragh, dry out the Japanese Gardens and damage Pollardstown Fen, a site of international scientific importance. Only te EU listened. The lesson to be learnt is that decision makers must not ignore scientific advice, or blame consequent cost and delays on snails.

The situation is analogous to the Carrickmines Castle Complex and the M50, where the archeologist 1996 Report recommended moving the road as the archeological work required would be too expensive and time consuming. A note on the file states that the route of the road 'can not be moved'.
Dredging has begun at Lough Ree to attract more tourists to the coarse fishing created by the power plant's hot water discharge. FIE can find no study to assess the impacts of the work on the Lough, a Special Area of Conservation. The initial dredging has begun during the spawning season and the plume of suspended solids released is likely to smother the protected spawning beds and the hatchling attached to the reed stems. It appears that Waterways Ireland, the body in charge of this operation, is dumping the spoils in the reed swamp in the middle of the channel seemingly without a Waste License. FIE is seeking to bring the work to the attention of the Minister for the Environment and the European Commission.
Dredging has begun at Lough Ree to attract more tourists to the coarse fishing created by the power plant's hot water discharge. FIE can find no study to assess the impacts of the work on the Lough, a Special Area of Conservation. The initial dredging has begun during the spawning season and the plume of suspended solids released is likely to smother the protected spawning beds and the hatchling attached to the reed stems. It appears that Waterways Ireland, the body in charge of this operation, is dumping the spoils in the reed swamp in the middle of the channel seemingly without a Waste License. FIE is seeking to bring the work to the attention of the Minister for the Environment and the European Commission.
Following reports last week that Environment Minister Cullen is to yield to pressure from landowners and weaken protection for the endangered hen harrier, FIE has sought further information prior to considering a formal complaint to the European Commission of non- compliance with EU law. Letter to the Minister.

Ireland has already received a Reasoned Opinion under the Birds Directive for its failure to protect rare native and migratory birds. According to English Nature, a fire in England last week intentionally targeted the seven remaining breeding pairs and destroyed more than 250 hectares of moorland habitats. It is against this background that the Minister has announced that forestation can take place without assessment in these designated areas, threatening the last 25 remaining pairs of hen harriers in the south west of Ireland. Read our Press Release.




Following reports last week that Environment Minister Cullen is to yield to pressure from landowners and weaken protection for the endangered hen harrier, FIE has sought further information prior to considering a formal complaint to the European Commission of non- compliance with EU law. Letter to the Minister.

Ireland has already received a Reasoned Opinion under the Birds Directive for its failure to protect rare native and migratory birds. According to English Nature, a fire in England last week intentionally targeted the seven remaining breeding pairs and destroyed more than 250 hectares of moorland habitats. It is against this background that the Minister has announced that forestation can take place without assessment in these designated areas, threatening the last 25 remaining pairs of hen harriers in the south west of Ireland. Read our Press Release.