The European Commission has confirmed to the Independent MEP Nessa Childers that they are assessing the Irish authorities’ response to a formal Complaint that a proposal for a new road in Kilkenny city involving the demolition of heritage houses may be in breach of the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessments.
In an email to the MEP, a senior official in Brussels responsible for enforcement of environment law, Mr Paul Speight, says ‘The Irish authorities replied to us on October 25. We will now be assessing that reply and will inform you and the other complainants of our conclusions.’
Ms Childers welcomed the EU Commission’s response and visit the city today and examines the proposed Central Access Road Scheme, together with Cllr Malcolm Noonan of the Green party and Ms. Shirley O’Brien – who complained to the EU on behalf of local citizens – as well as a representative of An Taisce.
Ms Childers said she was delighted that the EU Commission was taking the Complaint about the proposed Central Access Scheme seriously. “During our most recent plenary session, the European Parliament voted to strengthen the Environmental Impact Assessments Directive even further. Kilkenny County Council and the Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan TD, need to wake up and realise that this Complaint is not going to be shrugged off. The houses in Vicar Street are an important part of Kilkenny’s built heritage and Kilkenny County Council must comply fully with domestic and European law in relation to them,” she said.
During her visit to Kilkenny, Ms Childers will call to Ossory Youth and receive a copy of the group’s new County Suicide Prevention Plan. Ossory Youth is a voluntary, non-profit youth work organisation working with young people within the Diocese of Ossory, covering Kilkenny and parts of Laois and Offaly. She will meet members of Kilkenny Youth Democracy project, who are involved in a cross European exchange. Ms Childers will also visit the Barnstorm Youth Theatre and Kilkenny Men’s Shed project.