Email to Oireachtas Members dated November 28th 2004

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From: "William Finnerty" <>
To:, "Deputy Prime Minister Mary Harney" <>,,,,,, "Minister Eamon O' Cuiv" <>,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ""Senator Ulick Burke"" <>,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ""Finian McGrath TD"" <>,,,,,,,,, ""Eamon Ryan TD"" <>,,, ""Minister for Justice (Michael McDowell TD)"" <>,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, "Joe Callanan TD" <>,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, "John Gormley" <>,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, "Minister Dick Roche TD (Environment & Local Government)" <>,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
CC: "Charlie Bird (RTE Chief News Correspondent)" <>, "John Bowman (RTE Broadcaster)" <>, "Miriam O'Callaghan (RTE Broadcaster)" <>, "Pat Kenny (RTE Broadcaster)" <>, "Vincent Browne (RTE Broadcaster)" <>, "Turoe Stone Preservation Society" <>, "New Inn AntiDump Internet Group" <>, "Woodlawn House Preservation Society" <>, "Kilconnell Anti-Dump Internet Group" <>, "Esker Riada Preservation Society" <>, "Irish Independent Newspapers (Unison Group)" <>, "Irish Examiner Newspaper" <>, "The Irish Times" <>, "TV3 (Republic of Ireland)" <>, "NewsTalk" <>, "An Bord Pleanala" <>, "Environment Protection Agency" <>, "Heritage Council (Ireland)" <>, "Republic of Ireland Ombudsman (Ms Emily O'Reilly)" <>, "Guardian of The Constitution (President Mary McAleese)" <>
Subject: OIREACHTAS MEMBERS COPY >>> RTE's Charlie Bird asked to investigate ... (Re. Aarhus Convention Agreement)
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 17:58:18 -0000

Dear Oireachtas Member,
RTE's Chief News Correspondent, Charlie Bird, was asked recently to investigate why the PEOPLE of the Republic of Ireland continue to be kept in ignorance regarding the extremely important international Aarhus Convention Agreement signed in 1998, in spite of the requirement under Article 29,5,1 of our Constitution which states: "Every international agreement to which the State becomes a party shall be laid before Dail Eireann". 
A copy of the e-mail sent on November 23rd to Mr Bird can be seen at: .
The above mentioned e-mail to Mr Bird followed an earlier one to RTE relating to what I see as the AMAZING MEDIA CENSORSHIP regarding the Aarhus Convention Agreement, which has been going on here in Ireland for well over six years now.  It was sent to RTE's Pat Kenny Show on October 31st 2004, the day before his radio debate on INCINERATION, and a copy can be seen at: .
In the event, Mr Kenny made NO mention at all of the Aarhus Convention Agreement during his lengthy radio discussion on incineration the following day.
My hope, and the main reason I am sending you this e-mail, is that the majority of Oireachtas Members will now take steps to ensure that there is a full and proper public debate on the Aarhus Convention Agreement as soon as possible; and, that it will take place well BEFORE the debate regarding the possible ratification of the much more recent EU Constitution agreement.  In connection with this request, I further hope it may help to point out that the doctrine of the tripartite separation of powers advocates the distribution of the powers of government among the three main institutions of our State: legislative (Oireachtas), executive (Government), and judicial (Courts): and that this facility is embedded in our Constitution for the specific purpose of LIMITING the power of each of these three institutions, and ensuring that a healthy balance is maintained between them.  (Reference source: "Principles of Irish Law", pages 11 and 12, Sixth Edition, by barrister Dr. Brian Doolan.) 
As some of you will already know there are deep concerns in some quarters that the EU Constitution would, if ratified using the present wording, to a very large extent effectively NEGATE all of the most important benefits of the Aarhus Convention Agreement, for the vast majority of EU citizens. 
Such concerns are strengthened by the fact that, in spite of the European Community signing up for it on 25 June 1998, there is NO mention at all of the Aarhus Convention Agreement in the Environment section of the present EU Constitution text soon to be considered here for ratification:  please see . 
For future reference purposes, a copy of this e-mail will be placed at:
Yours sincerely,
William Finnerty.



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Heritage Protection Efforts


The ┼rhus Convention Agreement
 (3 Main Points)

The ┼rhus Convention establishes a number of rights of the public (citizens and their associations) with regard to the environment. Public authorities (at national, regional or local level) are to contribute to allowing these rights to become effective. The Convention provides for:

  1. The right of everyone to receive environmental information that is held by public authorities (“access to environmental information”). This can include information on the state of the environment, but also on policies or measures taken, or on the state of human health and safety where this can be affected by the state of the environment. Citizens are entitled to obtain this information within one month of the request and without having to say why they require it. In addition, public authorities are obliged, under the Convention, to actively disseminate environmental information in their possession;

  2. The right to participate from an early stage in environmental decision-making. Arrangements are to be made by public authorities to enable citizens and environmental organisations to comment on, for example, proposals for projects affecting the environment, or plans and programmes relating to the environment, these comments to be taken into due account in decision-making, and information to be provided on the final decisions and the reasons for it (“public participation in environmental decision-making”);

  3. The right to challenge, in a court of law, public decisions that have been made without respecting the two aforementioned rights or environmental law in general (“access to justice”).

Above text taken from:


National Development Plan

"The NDP is the largest and most ambitious investment plan ever drawn up for Ireland. It involves an investment of over  EUR 52 billion  of Public, Private and EU funds (in 1999 prices) over the period 2000-2006. The Plan involves significant investment in health services, social housing, education, roads, public transport, rural development, industry, water and waste services, childcare and local development."

The above quote was taken from on October 23rd 2004.



Bunreacht na hEireann:
(Constitution of the Republic of Ireland)

Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe:

Text of EU Constitution Draft Treaty:

Text of Environment Section of EU Constitution Draft Treaty:



Checking and correcting unconstitutional legislation (Republic of Ireland):

Legislation and the role of the President of the Republic of Ireland:

Irish Legislation (BAILII):

 Irish Legal Information Initiative (IRLII):


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