For immediate release
September 24, 2004
Government Guilty of Alarming Breaches in EU Waste Law
according to European Court Advocate-General
In a devastating indictment in the European Court yesterday (Luxemburg, 23
September) of the Irish Government’s neglect of the waste issue over
several years, the Advocate General of the Court slammed the Irish
authorities for ‘persistent widespread and serious’ failure
to comply with EU Waste Law, and recommended that the Court should
declare Ireland to be in breach of no fewer than five separate Articles
of the Waste Directive* and also in breach of Article 10 of the EC
European Court Advocate-General Geelhoed rejected claims by
Irish Government lawyers that these breaches were isolated incidents
and that there was no evidence of actual environmental harm claims
and in a strongly worded opinion said that “ there are sufficient
grounds for establishing that Ireland has infringed the waste directive
in a ‘general and structural manner”.
He recommended that the Court should declare that Ireland has infringed its obligations
because, among other reasons, it has failed to “prevent the abandonment,
dumping and uncontrolled disposal of waste, thereby endangering human
health and causing environmental harm”.
A spokesperson for CHASE said “This
is the first time any EU Member State has been criticised for breaching
EU health and environment law in a ‘general and structural manner’.
The Advocate General’s opinion is likely to prove devastating to the
Government’s overall defence strategy in this landmark case.
His recommendation that Ireland should pay the legal costs
of the case if followed by the Court would see a hefty legal bill
for the Irish taxpayer. The Irish Government has failed to obey
and uphold a fundamental law which is supposed to protect public health
and the environment, and must start to take its environmental obligations
The EU Commission brought the case to the Court following complaints
about breaches of EU waste law at twelve separate locations throughout
the country, including Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Wexford, Limerick,
Carlow, Laois and Louth. Both parties’ arguments were heard
by the Court’s Grand Chamber (full Court panel) in July.
*These articles require member states to take the necessary measures
to ensure that waste is recovered or disposed of without endangering
human health and without using processes or methods which could harm
The full text of the Advocate General’s Opinion is on the European Court’s website www.curia.eu.int.
here for the list of articles breached.
here to view Case Number C-494/01.
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For further information contact:
Linda FitzPatrick, CHASE PRO
Tel: 021 4374506 Mobile:
Mary O’Leary, Chairperson, CHASE
Tel: 021 4811952 Mobile: