Belfast Telegraph

Appeal lodged in climate action case against Irish government

More than 18,000 members of the public have signed online supporting the legal challenge.

The government has been criticised for failing to do enough to reduce emissions (John Giles/PA)
The government has been criticised for failing to do enough to reduce emissions (John Giles/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

An appeal has been lodged in a case brought against the Irish government in 2017 seeking more climate action.

Dublin High Court ruled in favour of the Irish government in September after a group of activists challenged its plan to tackle climate change.

The landmark case by Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) – which began in January this year – argued that the Irish government’s climate action plan fell far short of what is needed to protect citizens.

FIE argued that by failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short term, the State breaches Ireland’s Climate Act 2015 as well as fundamental rights under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, including the right to life.

Ireland’s emissions remain among the highest in Europe per person, and our overall emissions have risen significantly over the past three decade. Clodagh Daly

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath, ruling on the case at the time, said it was “a very complex case involving different issues of law and science”.

He added that the government had wide discretion for its policies and it was not for the court to decide on.

More than 18,000 members of the public have signed online supporting the legal challenge.

FIE has now lodged two appeals, one to the Court of Appeal lodged on Friday, and an application to “leapfrog” the case directly to the Supreme Court, which requires the court’s permission.

A decision from the Supreme Court regarding that appeal is expected in the next few months, and will be published online together with the parties’ arguments.

Clodagh Daly, a spokeswoman for Climate Case Ireland, said it is regrettable that citizens had to turn to the courts at all.

“Ireland’s emissions remain among the highest in Europe per person, and our overall emissions have risen significantly over the past three decades,” she said.

“By failing to dramatically reduce our emissions, the Irish government is ignoring public calls and a political consensus for more ambitious climate action. It is for this reason that we are seeking the intervention of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.”

PA

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