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An Taisce faces critics over Corrib court case

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An Taisce faces strong criticism over Corrib court case


Áine Ryan


AN TAISCE is set to be strongly challenged for settling High Court Judicial Review proceedings about the controversial Corrib Gas project when it facilitates a meeting tonight (Tuesday) in Belmullet.
Community group, Pobal Chill Chomáin says the national trust’s withdrawal from the case, on October 27 last, had created a serious legal vacuum about the project.
On the other hand,  Charles Stanley-Smith, the chairman of An Taisce, has argued that: “The critical objective for an Taisce is to ensure what happened in the Corrib project can never happen again.”
A central plank of the settlement was a pledge by the State to transpose European environmental law into national legislation, while the State maintained its pipeline consents were valid. 
However, Pobal Chill Chomáin said in a statement:  “We understand that the EU Commission is seeking clarification from the Irish State on the impact of the proposed pipeline on the Special Area of Conservation and that its case against the government on the failure to transpose the Habitat’s Directive will continue to include a reference to the Corrib project.”
The legal challenges taken by An Taisce and  local residents Monica Muller and Peter Sweetman related to the last section of the project, which involves a sub-sea tunnel under Sruwaddacon Estuary, a protected habitat.
In a Mayo News report last week, Mr Sweetman stated that himself and Ms Muller deemed the outcome of the case as a ‘devastating defeat’. He accused An Taisce of ‘undermining’ their case by not supporting it in court, claiming that on the first day of the proceedings An Taisce and the State was already at an advanced stage towards a settlement. 
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Observer, appointed by Amnesty International and the Frontline Defenders has completed her six-month stint in north-west Mayo. A report will be published by the end of the year.
An Taisce’s public meeting will be held tonight, Tuesday, in Áras Inis Gluaire, Belmullet at 8.15pm.