June 14, 2021

Climate Case Ireland calls on Government to focus on environmental rights

Green Finance in Ireland

Climate Case Ireland has produced an open letter to the Irish Government urging for a Citizen’s Assembly on the biodiversity challenge and the importance of this in developing a healthy and sustainable environment.

The organisation which was responsible for winning a landmark case against the Government last year issued a letter to the Department of Climate Action and is urging the Government to launch a specific plan on Biodiversity Loss before the Dáil breaks over the summer period.

A fair right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and following the principles of a Just Transition is also included within their requests. 

Back in 2019 Dáil officially declared a climate and biodiversity emergency and ordered for a Citizen’s Assembly measure to investigate how Ireland could enhance and improve its response to the loss of biodiversity. A year after, the Government programme committed to accelerating the development of a dedicated Citizens Assembly on Biodiversity but since being announced, there have been no further developments.

Recently the Supreme Court rejected a potential judicial recognition of a right to a healthy environment. The Supreme Court explained that a constitutional right to the environment with recognition can often be the subject of further debate and democratic approval.

Matthew Mollahan of Climate Case Ireland believes that the lack of environmental rights in Ireland is positioning the nation in the minority of countries lacking environmental rulings as part of the constitution, highlighting that around three-quarters of countries worldwide have this in place.

In an interview with The Green News, Mr Mollahan explained that embedding these rights within the constitution would be important in developing further climate legislation and protecting the current climate rulings from the impacts and changes in future governments.

In a recent move, Ireland along with 68 other nations signed an agreement raised to the council which stated that a ‘safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment’ is critical to the full enjoyment of human rights. The report explains that Ireland is committed to creating an open, transparent and inclusive dialogue on a global scale.

While Mr Mollahan welcomed the new statement, he explains that the messages need to be converted into context in Ireland. Statements on an internal level are critical, but Mollahan highlights that this needs to be actualised within Ireland.