RESIDENTS OF Cork Harbour who object to the proposed development of a €75 million incinerator at Ringaskiddy have accused the State of bullying after moves were made to seek legal costs against them.
Green Party senator Dan Boyle supported their comments and described the State’s intention to pursue costs against individuals who objected to the Ringaskiddy incinerator as “legal bullying”.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected a bid by local residents to further adjourn two legal challenges to the incinerator.
Residents have now learned the State is seeking legal costs for the case, to be assessed in October.
Local environment action group Cork Harbour Area for a Safe Environment (Chase) claim they are following an important legal principle – that national cases such as this can be adjourned pending a decision at the European Court of Justice.
Mary O’Leary, speaking on behalf of Chase, said it appeared they were being punished for seeking good planning policy to be written in to Irish law.
“While we are outraged really . . . this is a point of public interest. This is to ensure that in the future we will have proper planning. It is a form of bullying. It is trying to intimidate communities. We are doing this because we have seen the shortcomings of the planning process . . . it doesn’t deal adequately with health and environment.
“We have never had our questions answered either by An Bord Pleanála or the EPA. The reason why we pursue this is because it is an important legal point.”
The residents wanted the adjournments pending the outcome of a legal action against Ireland in the European Court of Justice. The case is being taken by the European Commission based on its formal view that Ireland failed to transpose properly into Irish law a commission directive relating to the environmental impact assessment of public and private projects, including incinerators.
Mr Boyle said community groups have been following an important legal principle – that national cases can be adjourned pending a decision at the European Court of Justice.
“The Supreme Court has decided that the cases can be heard in parallel, and those who have taken this action have accepted this verdict. To further seek a pound of flesh by asking for costs from ordinary citizens . . . whose actions are motivated only by having the law in this area clarified, amounts to legal bullying. ”
Mr Boyle said the Green Party cannot be associated with the use of the legal system as a form of intimidation against those whose only motivation is the maintenance of the highest possible standards of environmental protection.
The Irish Times