An Taisce have launched a High Court challenge aimed at overturning the Government's decision to award a foreshore licence to an oil and natural gas exploration firm for the Dalkey Island prospect in Dublin Bay.
An Tasice, which is concerned with the preservation of the national heritage and environment, claims in its proceedings that by holding that no Environmental Impact Assessment was required before awarding the licence to Irish-listed company Providence Resources PLC, the Government has acted unlawfully.
An Taisce claims that and EIA is required under an EU directive, and the decision to grant the licence should be quashed as a result.
The licence for an area in the Kish Bank basin allows the company to carry out a number of activities including a seismic study, a well site survey and drill an exploration well. The edge of the licence area lies about 10km from Dalkey Island.
An Taisce, the National Trust of Ireland, has brought proceedings against both the Minister for the Environment, Junior Minister at the Department Jan O'Sullivan TD, who was delegated the power to grant foreshore licences on behalf of the state, Ireland and the Attorney General. Providence Resources is a notice party to the proceedings.
In an affidavit to the Court the Chair of An Taisce Mr John Harnet said the National Trust has brought a high court action because it is "very concerned at the manner in which consent for this project has been obtained."
In their action An Taisce is seeking an order quashing the the decision of September 27th last to grant the licence to Providence. An Taisce is further seeking a declaration that the Government has failed to properly transpose or implement Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2011 92 EU into Irish law.
Moving the application for An Taisce James Devlin SC said it was An Taisce's case that the an EIA was required before the government could issue the foreshore licence. The failure to do this, counsel added, breached the EU directive
Leave to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex-parte basis (one side only), by Mr Justice Michael Peart today. The matter was made returnable to February of next year.