Day to Day Diary

As FIE’s case against the new runway at Dublin airport closes after 10 days in the High Court, the State hits out, claiming there is no evidence before the court ‘to establish that the north runway will cause an increase in the pace of climate change… There is no precise statement with regard to the impact that Dublin Airport itself will have upon greenhouse gas emissions. There is no link between that and greenhouse gas emissions and climate change… they haven't reached the point of saying that Dublin Airport is going to be directly impacting negatively upon climate change.’

Read the State’s astonishing rejection of constitutional protection for the environment



First case to test new climate legalisation


Tommorow  is scheduled to be the last day of the challenge to the new runway proposed for Dublin airport. on the basis that it was incompatible with European Union environmental law and because Fingal County Council had not justified its decision in light of the National Transition Objective set out in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.


This case is the first time measures reflecting the State’s commitment to transition to a low carbon economy by 2050 come before the courts and will be an important test of the strength of the obligations placed on public bodies to further this objective.


Read the Press Release




Friends of the Irish Environment is celebrating our 20th anniversary in the High Court which is currently hearing two of our Judicial Reviews as we launch our 20th anniversary €20 fund raiser.

We’re inviting the public to join us and see our challenges unfold.

One is Ireland’s first climate case. Did the local authority fail to meet the requirements of Ireland's climate legislation in extending the permission for the proposed third runway at Dublin airport? Are our constitution rights inter-generational?

The climate case resumes at 2pm in Court 12 tomorrow – Tuesday – 10 October 2017.

The other case relates to the widespread uncontrolled industrial extraction of turf by large horticultural companies revealed by a satellite survey done for FIE by University College Cork. The extraction of peat is not only a nature conservation issue, but impacts on drinking water quality and destroys our finest carbon sinks.

That’s on tomorrow at 11.15 in Court 25. For updates text 087 2176316.

By celebrating the coincidence of FIE’s two concurrent court cases  with our 20th anniversary fund raiser in the High Court itself we can also take the opportunity to thank the solicitors and barristers who have given their time and skills pro bono for so many years.

Join us – and if you can’t be there, perhaps you can support our 20th anniversary €20 fund raiser and help ensure openness and transparency in the Government’s treatment of the environment.



As the country counts the cost of another extreme weather event, the Pope’s recent Encyclical was cited in the High Court as part of the challenge to the new runway at Dublin Airport.

John Kenny, SC, opening the case for the Friends of the Irish Environment’s challenge to the extension of the runway, quoted Pope Frances’s May 2015 Laudata Si’ in support of the contention that the ‘philosophical consensus’ supports the ’legal and scientific consensus that requires climate change be addressed’.

The Pope warns that ‘we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system -a ‘common good’ that is ‘belonging to all and was meant for all’. According to the document ‘environmental degradation’ is occurring at ‘an accelerating pace having a profound effect on us all and on the poor and disadvantaged, in particular’.

In the Encyclical, the Pope quoted his fellow clerics statement that “inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage we are called to acknowledge our contribution, smaller or greater, to the disfigurement and destruction of creation”.

On the 8th day of the Judicial Review, FIE’s barrister argued that it was not an Encyclical which reflected a particular religious or dogmatic view point. He suggested the Pope’s work was an ‘eloquent and thought-provoking encapsulation of an emerging philosophical consensus that should be considered in tandem with what I have described as the jurisprudential consensus and the scientific consensus.’

A spokesman for the group said that ‘the overwhelming legal, scientific, and ethical arguments all support our claim that the State is failing to address the greatest challenge of our time, ignoring its own Climate Act and its own targets for reducing carbon emissions. This case is about climate, climate, climate – and nothing else.’

Minister blocks bid to revoke salmon licences

The Sunday Times today covers FIE’s publication of two Submissions to the Minister for Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries by the Principle Officer of the Department’s Aquaculture and Foreshore Division revealing gross overstocking and recommending the withdrawal of Marine Harvest’s salmon farming licences in Donegal and Cork.

Marine Harvest is a Norwegian multi-national which has bought up local fish farm licences and now produces more than 80% of Ireland’s farmed salmon.

In the case of Donegal’s Lough Alton, which supplies 80% of Marine Harvest’s smolts, ‘by its own admission the company exceeded its stocking limitation by a significant degree (17%) for commercial reasons,’ the Submission states.

‘Persistent’ requests for an action plan to address the breaches by Donegal County Council had been met with a refusal by the company who ‘cited economic reasons for not implementing the of treatment facilities which their current production rates would demand in order to achieve compliance’.

The Principle Officer states ‘It can be reasonably stated therefore that the company knowingly breached the terms and conditions of its licence to a substantial degree for clear commercial gain’.

At Inishfarnard in the Kenmare River Special Area of Conservation, gross overstocking has been recorded in the annual Department’s Fin Fish Farm Inspection Reports since 2012. The Inishfarnard site, which is licensed to contain no more than 500 tons of fish, had a standing stock that was 26% above the permitted level before the input of 820,604 young fish in March 2014, this input itself being 105% in excess of the permitted level of 400,000 fish.

Marine Harvest called the licensing system ‘Anachronistic, legally and technically meaningless in its application to modern good farming practice’.

FIE published the Submission as part of its presentation to the recent Oral Hearing of a number appeals against the company’s proposed new salmon farm in Bantry Bay. They told the Oral Hearing, held in Bantry earlier this month, that ‘an applicant who openly informs a licencing authority that he has no intention of meeting his licencing conditions is not a fit person to hold a licence’.

Marine Harvest Overstocking | Read the full Press Release