The Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee today accepted a communication filed by FP Logue Solicitors on behalf of its client, Right to Know. The communication alleges non-compliance by Ireland with the Aarhus Convention arising from delays in reviewing refusals by Irish public authorities to grant access to environmental information. The Aarhus Convention grants the public rights to access environmental information, participate in decisions affecting the environment and to access judicial and administrative remedies. Requests for access to environmental information must be granted within one month of request and where a member of the public considers that his request has been incorrectly handled he or she has a right to an expeditious and timely review by the Commissioner for Environmental information and the courts.
In our client’s view serious delays and inappropriate procedures constitute clear non-compliance with the Aarhus Convention.
The Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee is a body which sits in the United Nations in Geneva and is empowered to accept communications from members of the public concerning compliance by parties with the provisions of the Aarhus Convention. The communication will now be reviewed for admissibility by the Compliance Committee at its 54th meeting to be held in Geneva between 27 and 30 September and if it is found to be admissible the Committee will invite comments from the Ireland and others and will investigate the allegations of non-compliance.
Right to Know is an Irish NGO who’s objective is to improve, promote and advocate for greater access to information including environmental information. The objective of the communication is to reduce delays in reviewing decisions of public authorities so that final decisions are made in a timely way so that the public can be assured that requests are answered as quickly as possible.
The ACCC operates transparently and all documents are available online at http://www.unece.org/environmental-policy/conventions/public-participation/aarhus-convention/tfwg/envppcc/envppcccom/acccc2016141-ireland.html