Cllr Malcolm Noonan is calling on the government to enact into law an international treaty that would enable individuals and communities to challenge major planning decisions in court without having to fear “excessive” costs.
He made the remarks following an attempt in the High Court, by him and nine others, to invoke what is known as the Aarhus convention. In his case, his longer-term aim was to challenge a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to grant a licence to Teagasc to grow genetically modified (GM) potatoes in County Carlow.
The 10 EU citizens sought, in separate independent legal actions a Not Prohibitively Expensive Order (NPE) from High Court Judge Hogan. No2GM, a company limited, also sought an identical order, and all were refused.
The court ruled that, although the Aarhus Convention was ratified by Environment Minister Phil Hogan earlier this year, it cannot yet be invoked in Ireland because it has not been signed into Irish law by the Oireachtas.