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Dursey Island Case shows draconian targeting of environmental defenders a serious mistake
national | worker & community struggles and protests | press release Tuesday December 06, 2022 22:54 by foie - Friends of the Irish Environment
PRESS RELEASE FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT MONDAY 5 DECEMBER 2022
Judicial Review demonstrates need for access to Courts
The development at the end of the Beara peninsula in west Cork included a two-car desynchronised reversible cable car system capable of carrying 650 people an hour, an extensive glass-fronted visitor centre with a gift shop and 84-person cafe with parking for 100 cars and buses. 10 compulsory purchases orders of land for passing bays along the 6km access road have also now been abandoned by the local authority.
A letter from the Board’s legal representatives, Fieldfisher, told FIE’s legal representatives that ‘The Board will not oppose the Applicant's claim for certiorari quashing the Board's decision on the basis that the Board failed to provide adequate reasons for its decision’.
According to FIE’s submissions, the Board’s Inspector twice demonstrated that the calculations used to show the impact of tourism on the islands’ protected choughs ‘cannot be accurate’. ‘The visitor number arrived at as being acceptable is not based on a reliable methodology’ and ‘was not scientifically or mathematically sound’ he wrote in his Reports. The recommendation was overruled in a Board Direction signed by Dave Walsh.
Friends of the Irish Environment, An Taisce and Birdwatch Ireland all appealed against the grant of permission by Cork County Council in 2019. The groups called the proposal “Undesirable on multiple grounds", citing the “ecological sensitivity of Dursey”, “the absence of any Management Plans for the protected site, as well as the narrow stretch of road linking it to national network” making it “unsuitable for a proposal of this scale.”
The 6-person cable car, opened in 1969, has been closed for the summer for the €1.2m replacement of the existing system which was required for safety reasons. It’s reopening has recently been delayed until January 2023.
FIE Director Tony Lowes, whose organisation’s offices are nearby on the Beara peninsula, said that ‘the case illustrates why it is critical to allow Judicial Reviews to correct errors that are inevitably going to happen. What is required are 16 more judges and a better resourced An Bord Pleanála, not the draconian silencing of environmental defenders proposed by the Government.’
FIE was represented by O’Connell Clarke, Solicitors.
Contact: Tony Lowes, 353(0) 87 2176316 / 353 (0)27 74771
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