The European Commission is asking Ireland to comply with a 2005 ruling by the EU's Court of Justice regarding waste disposal, it emerged today.
"While good progress has been made in some instances, more action is needed in areas such as construction waste and end-of-life vehicles," the Commission said in a statement.
The Commission said it may take Ireland back to court and request financial penalties if the necessary actions are not taken.
“The world is not our trash can," Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said.
"Proper waste disposal is essential to keep the environment healthy. I therefore urge Ireland to bring its practices into line with EU law.”
The EU Court of Justice in 2005 ruled that Ireland was failing in its obligation to comply with EU waste laws, and that environmentally damaging waste practices were widespread. These included unauthorised waste operations on environmentally sensitive wetlands, and a persistent pattern of official tolerance of the uncontrolled disposal of waste.
Progress has been made since the judgment, and Ireland now has an adequate network of landfills.
But an adequate network for construction and demolition waste – a category that figured prominently in the case – is still lacking, the Commission said.
Many facilities handling end-of-life vehicle waste are still operating without permits, and waste in certain illegal landfills is not covered by permit. In several cases, waste has been left untreated in unauthorised sites.
As clean-up measures have yet to be completed for several waste sites, and permitting has not yet been completed for end-of-life vehicles, an additional letter of formal notice has been sent, giving Ireland a chance to react to these specific points.