The Irish Examiner View: Trojan horse case on river protection inevitable

The Irish Examiner View: Trojan horse case on river protection inevitable

We have a long and expensive tradition of light-touch regulation. That  tradition, that corrosive pretence, often amplified by sanctions that are often more than nominal.

This sorry truth applies to banking, planning, construction, policing and environmental protection legislation, many other areas too. In each instance, ambitions are expressed through legislation but that legislation is all too often an imaginary presence, almost academic to how we live our lives.

This leads to a breakdown in trust that can have unexpected outcomes.

One of those has provoked the chief executive of Cork County Council to describe a High Court decision to reclassify an entire river as a special protection area for the Freshwater Pearl Mussel as “very significant”, and one that could be “an extremely limiting factor on proposed growth.”

Cork council chief executive Tim Lucey has written to the Department of Heritage, Culture on the ruling's implications and a reply is awaited.

Two years ago, after years of working together, the Department and the county council, persuaded the EU to declassify the River Blackwater as a special area of protection for the mussel.

That ruling was challenged in the High Court. The Department didn't offer a defence so the High Court ruled that the river to revert to protection status.

It seems fair to suggest that had environmental protection legislation been enforced along the Blackwater valley then there might have been no need for this Trojan Horse case. Had the rules been properly applied the water would have supported all resident wildlife.

Shooting yourself in the foot is the usual phrase to describe this situation.  

More in this Section

Irish Examiner View: Brendan BowyerIrish Examiner View: Brendan Bowyer

Irish Examiner View: America’s unresolved problems continueIrish Examiner View: America’s unresolved problems continue

Irish Examiner View: Home working can remake our worldIrish Examiner View: Home working can remake our world

Jess Casey: Reopening Irish schools will be anything but child’s playJess Casey: Reopening Irish schools will be anything but child’s play


Lifestyle

Are any of these items on your wish list?Wish List: A new twist on nautical stripes, smart storage and a very vintage tea set

We've teamed up with the Crawford Art Gallery and are asking our readers to try their hand at colouring in a painting from the Crawford collection. You can print off and colour the painting below.Unleash the artist in you - Colour with Crawford Art Gallery

Beyond the outdoorsy appeal of the clothes, they tellingly portray the pervasive anxiety of our times.Paul McLauchlan's menswear: Why outdoor clothes are here to stay

A mum is campaigning to extend maternity leave to protect her baby, says Sharon Ní ChonchúirStaying safe: Cork-based mum is campaigning to extend maternity leave to protect her baby

More From The Irish Examiner