Pat Swords continues his battle against the madness that is the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) and more particularly the failure of the EU and the Irish Government to consult (at all) with the Irish public about the Plan when all options were open.
You will remember that when I last updated you on Pat’s progress, as a result of his efforts the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Europe, which oversees compliance with the Aarhus Treaty, endorsed the findings of the Aarhus Compliance Committee, and so censured the European Union for “not having in place a proper regulatory framework and/or clear instructions to implement article 7 of the Convention with respect to the adoption of National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) by its member States on the basis of Directive 2009/28/EC, has failed to comply with article 7 of the Convention”.
In essence, the EU was rebuked by the UN for failing to stop the Irish Government when it first launched the NREAP without bothering to consult with the Irish public.
The UN’s Economic Commission for Europe says that the EU, “by not having properly monitored the implementation by Ireland of article 7 of the Convention in the adoption of Ireland’s NREAP, has also failed to comply with article 7 of the Convention”.
The EU Commission is the body that should be implementing EU law and accordingly the EU Commission should now be rectifying this mess and calling on the Irish government to tear it up and start again.
Accordingly Pat wrote to the EU Commission office in Ireland and asked them to do their job. Unfortunately, the EU Commission is not only the archetypal red-tape bureaucracy, they are also controlled by the wind industry. Their reply to Pat was typical (remembering that Pat has already secured a ruling not only from the Aarhus Compliance Committee but also the UN Economic Commission for Europe):
Dear Mr Swords,
Thank you for your email of 17/07/2014 to which we have given our best attention.
If you believe Ireland has failed to comply with community law you will find attached to this email the official complaint form that needs to be filled in and sent to the Secretary-General of the European Commission.
You can also contact the European Ombudsman if you believe your case has been mal-administrated in the European Institutions or bodies. http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/atyourservice/home.faces
Once you have exhausted all options within the national legal system – primarily responsible for enforcing community law – you can bring a case before the European Court of Justice for failure to act or by the form of a direct action request. You can find detailed information about the procedures and formalities at : http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/court-justice/index_en.htm
We trust this information will prove useful to you in the future.
European Commission Representation in Ireland
18 Dawson Street
Dublin 2 – Ireland”
Now, buckle up and enjoy the ride, because here comes a classic Pat Swords reply to these jumped-up eejits:
” To: European Commission
Point one: It is very rude and highly unprofessional to respond in such a manner as below without providing a name in the correspondence.
Point two: It is not a question of replying in that ‘I believe’ in anything; the e-mail I sent you provided you with the ruling of non-compliance in International Law adopted by UNECE at the Meeting of the Parties this month. Please see the two relevant documents in the attached. The first one you can see in Point 5 that: Based on the discussions under the preceding agenda items, the Meeting of the Parties formally adopted the following decisions with the agreed amendments by consensus: Decision V/9(g) on compliance by European Union (ECE/MP.PP/2014/L.16)
In ECE/MP.PP/2014/L.16 one can see:
1. Endorses the following findings of the Committee with regard to
(a) That the Party concerned, by not having in place a proper regulatory
framework and/or clear instructions to implement article 7 of the Convention with respect to
the adoption of National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) by its member States
on the basis of Directive 2009/28/EC, has failed to comply with article 7 of the Convention;
(b) That the Party concerned, by not having properly monitored the
implementation by Ireland of article 7 of the Convention in the adoption of Ireland’s
NREAP, has also failed to comply with article 7 of the Convention;
(c) That the Party concerned, by not having in place a proper regulatory
framework and/or clear instructions to implement and proper measures to enforce article 7
of the Convention with respect to the adoption of NREAPs by its member States on the
basis of Directive 2009/28/EC, has failed to comply also with article 3, paragraph 1, of the
This is a ruling in law, which senior officials in Brussels and the Ombudsman are already aware of, but are refusing to address. So I don’t have to inform them in any such forms below. In fact if you read the Decision of the Meeting of the Parties, you can see the continuing failure of these officials, your colleagues, to comply with their International Treaty arrangements, which are part of Community:
4. Expresses its concern as to whether letters will provide “a proper regulatory framework and/or clear instructions for implementing article 7 of the Convention with respect to the adoption of NREAPs” and that it remains unclear how the Party concerned will “adapt the manner in which it evaluates NREAPs” in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee;
5. Invites the Party concerned to submit to the Committee periodically (on 31 December 2014, 31 October 2015 and 31 October 2016) detailed information on further progress in implementing the recommendations set out above;
Please do not insult me and others with statements that I can bring a case before the European Court of Justice. I cannot, the European Court of Justice refuses to provide legal persons or groups of persons with access to the Court http://aarhusclearinghouse.unece.org/news/1000680/
Point 4. Please do not insult groups around the country by telling them to effectively run off and ‘exhaust all options with the National Legal System‘. Yourselves and your colleagues in Brussels have completely failed to ensure that EU Citizens here in Ireland, and that includes all with Irish passports, have access to their rights under the UNECEC Convention and associated European law to legal recourse, which is ‘fair. equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive’, see Article 11 of Directive 2011/92/EC below:
1. Member States shall ensure that, in accordance with the relevant national legal system, members of the public concerned:
have access to a review procedure before a court of law or another independent and impartial body established by law to challenge the substantive or procedural legality of decisions, acts or omissions subject to the public participation provisions of this Directive.
Any such procedure shall be fair, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive.
We now have a completely dreadful situation, as a result of multiple failures of yourselves and your colleagues, that citizen groups around the country are now having to raise considerable sums of money, starting off at €50,000 to defend their rights, their peaceful homes and countryside, from being destroyed by completely unsuitable and illegal developments connected to the National Renewable Energy Action Plans. For example in County Laois alone, where two groups have had to raise these sums of money in the last few weeks to initiate Judicial Reviews:
Conclusions: Let’s grow up here and be sensible and professional. There are already rulings in International Law against the European Union, which if you continue to hold in contempt will have you cautioned and then suspended from the UNECE Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. This ruling in International Law is also automatically a non-compliance in Community Law, which is enforceable in the Courts. You have in essence already lost in this issue and by delaying and putting Community Groups through such huge costs, stress and drawn out legal cases, you are acting in a manner which is unprofessional and contemptuous of both your legal and ethical obligations. As it is, it is simply shocking that your officials in Brussels knowingly and deliberately choose to by-pass the legal framework related to environmental democracy and human rights and unilaterally initiate this programme with its massive impacts on these rural communities:
However, were do we go from here? I have approached your EU office in Dublin in good faith that you would meet with me and other representative involved in these legal cases. If you continue to refuse to do so, such that a sensible adult solution can be reached on this issue, it is not just that tensions will continue to escalate over the coming months. As a start you will be facing several thousand angry people demonstrating outside your office. However, your office will also be involved directly or indirectly in an increasing number of High Court cases, in which there is only one outcome – you will lose.
So what is it to be?
Pat Swords BE CEng FIChemE CEnv MIEMA
10 Hillcourt Rd
You go Pat! I can also tell you that Pat’s case in the High Court has been scheduled for 11-13 November 2014. It would be nice if we could get a crowd to support this man who is almost single-handedly taking on the EU and the Irish Government.
You might also want to pop around to the EU Commission offices at 18 Dawson Street in Dublin to pay your respects.