Advocate General Kokott has delivered an opinion to the European Court of Justice expressing the view that that Ireland has breached several provisions of environmental planning directives. The opinion arises on foot of infringement proceedings initiated before the Court by the Commission in relation to the €100 million redevelopment of the Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare. The development last year received final planning approval from An Bord Pleanála (the Irish planning matters appeals body) but complaints about the planning process were also referred to the European Commission by a local farmer.
The Advocate General's opinion in the case has criticised the processes and procedures available to citizens seeking to challenge the planning process. Ireland has not, according to the Advocate General, made practical information on administrative and judicial review procedures available to the public. In particular the Advocate General also expressed concern that Ireland had failed to ensure public participation in the drawing up of programmes relating to the environment and had failed to adequately ensure that the environmental impact of road construction projects was assessed before planning permission granted in respect of the redevelopment.
The final decision of the Court is expected in early course.