11th June 2007
For immediate release
The details of the complaints are as follows.
In the first complaint, Coillte, the Irish State Foresty Board, was cited as being in contempt of a ruling by the European Court of Justice with respect to its sale of land at Ballinaboy to Shell, and its transfer of land at Rath Lugh, Co. Meath to the National Roads Authority, via Compulsory Purchase Order. In 2003, the European Court of Justice found that Coillte was an entity wholly owned and controlled by the State, and not a private company, as it had falsely represented itself to be. Coillte’s legal role is as caretaker of Ireland’s forests, not owner of them. Under Irish law, the forests of Ireland are the property of the people of Ireland. Coillte’s transfer of public land to Shell and the National Roads Authority was therefore illegal.
In the second complaint, Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority were cited as being in breach of European Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations, with respect to the Environmental Impact Statements prepared for the M3 Motorway. European EIA regulations require all alternatives to an infrastructure scheme to be evaluated, and for the proposed scheme to be justified with respect to these alternatives. In the case of the M3, no alternative schemes were considered, such as reopening the Navan-Dublin rail line in conjunction with upgrading the N3, reopening the line in conjunction with a non-motorway grade relief road, etc. In addition, it was argued that the Environmental Impact Statements made no reference to the impact on the existing infrastructure, the local community and the environment from traffic avoiding the two proposed tolling stations.