Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East, Anne Rabbitte, has detailed how an EU court has levelled daily fines of €10,000 against the government for failing to carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) at Derrybrien Windfarm.
The details emerged in a ruling from the European Court of Justice this month following the failure to carry out an EIA at the Galway site prior to its development in 2003. The area was the scene of a major landslide the same year. The court has now outlined the fines Ireland faces due to a ‘lack of cooperation’ on the issue since its initial ruling in July 2008.
Deputy Rabbitte commented, “
The judgement notes Ireland’s ‘genuine failure’ on dealing with the issue and now, 11 years on, the government is facing a lump sum penalty of over €4 million and then a daily fine of €10,000 per day until an EIA is commenced. The government have never committed to a start date. On one hand, we’ve the government flaunting its Climate Action Plan while on the other, they’re flouting EU regulations that put the environment at risk. It’s another example of hypocrisy of this Fine Gael government.
Deputy Rabbitte concluded:
In addition to the fines, the impact of the landslide on the surrounding rivers cannot be underestimated. South Galway has been hit with severe flooding in the last few years and we still don’t know what potential risks could be uncovered in the environmental assessment. I have been pressing the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment for clarity as the people of Galway deserve to know if their lands, homes and businesses are at risk and what measures may need to be put in place to mitigate any such dangers.