Appeal dismissed against EPA decision to grant emissions licence to Mayo gas refinery

In 2015 several local residents brought proceedings against the EPA's decision to grant the revised licence in respect of the controversial gas terminal.
Appeal dismissed against EPA decision to grant emissions licence to Mayo gas refinery

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a challenge brought against the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to grant an industrial emissions licence in respect of the Bellanaboy gas refinery in Co Mayo.

In 2015 several local residents brought proceedings against the EPA's decision to grant the revised licence in respect of the controversial gas terminal.

The refinery, and large combustion plant, formed part of a controversial project that resulted in protests and several complex court actions involving local people, campaigners and Shell.

Three of the parties subsequently withdrew from the case, while one, Maura Harrington of Doohoma, Ballina, Co Mayo, proceeded with the action.

In her proceedings against the EPA, Ireland and the Attorney General Ms Harrington, who lives close to the refinery, argued that the EPA's decision to grant the license is flawed and should be set aside.

The challenge was brought on several grounds.

Ms Harrington questioned if there had been an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) carried out in respect of the application in accordance with the EU's EIA Directive.

Another ground asked if the EPA had conducted an Appropriate Assessment in according with EU Directives.

The challenge was opposed by EPA.

Her challenge, in which Vermillion Exploration and Production Ireland (previously known as Shell E&P Ireland was a notice party, was dismissed by the High Court.

That judgement, delivered in 2017 by Mr Justice Donald Binchy, was appealed to the COA on grounds including that the Judge failed to completely answer the issue raised in the case regarding the carrying out of an EIA.

Dismissed

In its judgment on Monday the three-judge court, comprised of the President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham, Ms Justice Una Ni Raifeartaigh and Mr Justice Robert Haughton dismissed the appeal and upheld the High Court's earlier dismissal of the action.

Delivering what was a unanimous decision Mr Justice Birmingham said none of the grounds raised by Ms Harrington had convinced him that there were any deficiency in the approach taken by the High Court that would warrant the interference by the CoA.

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