Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment 7th Sept 2020
European Court to rule on Shannon LNG Planning Permission
Court Advised to quash An Bord Pleanala’s consent for Shannon fracked gas terminal
An Bord Pleanála’s extension to the 2008 grant of planning permission for a €500m liquified natural gas terminal on the Shannon Estuary will be the subject of a Reference from the European Court of Justice on Wednesday.
A Preliminary Reference to the European Court was made by Irish High Court Justice Garret Simons on 1 February 2019 after a Judicial Review was brought by Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE].
References to the European Court of Justice seek clarification of cases before national courts where a question of EU law arises. Once the EU Court hears arguments from the respective parties, it issues an Advocate General’s Opinion which is generally subsequently confirmed by the full Court.
Advocate General Juliane Kokott wrote in May of this year that to ensure ‘complete, precise, and definitive statements that are capable of dispelling any reasonable scientific doubt as to the impact’ the permission should not have been renewed without an environmental impact assessment.
The Advocate General also addressed a long-standing issue in cases before the Irish Courts where if the party challenging a decision did not cite relevant EU law grounds that might aid their case, the Court was not able to consider it. The State had long argued that unless specifically pled during a case, the Court was not obliged to consider relevant EU law.
Ms Kokott advised that ‘the obligation of a national court to interpret national law as far as possible in accordance with Union law does not require that the parties to the proceedings pending before it expressly express this specific interpretation.’
The judgment will be delivered electronically at 9 am this Wednesday, 9 September.