Ireland faces fines and legal action over failure to implement EU directives

Ireland faces fines and legal action over failure to implement EU directives

The European Commission is calling on Ireland to take action to halt the continued cutting of peat within special areas of conservation. Picture:  Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Ireland is facing fines and legal action by the European Commission over its failure to implement key EU directives on crime and the environment.

EU directives Ireland has not implemented include terrorist financing, single-use plastics, and peat cutting.

The directives should have been adopted more than a year ago.

One covers EU rules facilitating the use of financial information for the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing, and other serious offences, by providing easier access to bank account information by designated law-enforcement authorities. EU member states agreed to adopt the directive by August 1, 2021.

In a statement issued yesterday, the commission said: “Since Ireland, Croatia, and Finland had missed the initial deadline, the commission sent all three member states a letter of formal notice in September 2021.

“To date, Ireland, Croatia, and Finland have not notified any transposition measures to the commission.

“The three member states now have two months to comply with the transposition obligation and notify the commission.

“Otherwise, the commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.”

The commission said it is also taking legal steps against 11 member states, including Ireland, to force them to implement a single-use plastics directive to reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment and on human health.

Infringement procedures

In January 2022, the commission launched infringement procedures and sent, as a first step, letters of formal notice to 16 member states that had not yet fully transposed the single-use plastics directive in national law.

Complete transposition measures are still missing for Belgium, Estonia, Ireland, Croatia, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, and Finland and the commission therefore decided to issue reasoned opinions to those countries.

The member states concerned now have two months to respond and take the necessary measures.

Otherwise, the commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union with a proposal to impose financial sanctions.

In addition, the European Commission is calling on Ireland to take action to halt the continued cutting of peat within special areas of conservation (SACs) designated to conserve raised bogs and blanket bogs under the Habitats Directive.

The commission noted that while Irish authorities have taken action to stop cutting, including by compensating peat and turf cutters, cutting activities are still ongoing and enforcement action “appears to have stalled”.

Ireland now has two months to deal with the problem as directed by the EU or the European Commission says it may decide to refer Ireland to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

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