Gormley ponders European Commission proceedings as Green’s elect him leader

The Irish government Minister for the Environment John Gormley is, as far as I can tell, still to respond to the European Commission which, it’s reported [subs req], has taken infringement proceedings “in relation to the decision to preserve by record the ancient site at Lismullin.” The Irish Times report notes that “Ireland is the subject of 33 investigations by the commission into infringements of EU directives ranging from water pollution to the habitats directive and birds directive.” He described the meeting on Friday 13th July as “a long and frank exchange of views”. On a happier note for the Minister, he’s just been elected as the new leader of the Green Party, with 478 votes from the 775 party members who voted.From the Irish Times on Saturday 14th July

Mr Gormley said he had a “very useful and productive” meeting with Commissioner Dimas yesterday[Friday 13th July], a meeting which Mr Gormley requested to deal with numerous issues.

“I explained to him my concern and my willingness to resolve our problems particularly under the habitats and birds directives,” he said. “I have asked for a road map on how we can best avoid and deal with infringement proceedings going forward.”

The pair also discussed the controversial decision to go ahead with the M3 motorway through Lismullin in Co Meath. The EU Commission has taken infringement proceedings against the Government in relation to the decision to preserve by record the ancient site at Lismullin. It wants the Government to amend the 2004 National Monuments Act to include environmental impact assessments (EIAs) whenever a site of potential archaeological worth is discovered along the route. At present EIAs are only carried out before projects are begun.

Mr Gormley said: “The issues associated with Ireland’s implementation of the EIA directive are complex and have been ongoing for a number of years and Lismullin has recently been cited in the additional opinion. This matter requires full and detailed consideration and we will be responding to the commission as quickly as possible.”