Ireland fined €5m plus daily penalty of €15,000 over landslides at Galway wind farm
The fine relates to an incident which saw 50,000 fish killed in 2003.
November 12, 2019
THE EU’S COURT of Justice has fined the State €5m over its failure to comply with EU legislation that might have prevented landslides linked to the construction of a wind farm in the west of Ireland in 2003.
The penalty is set to increase further as EU’s top court set an additional daily fine of €15,000 until the Government achieves compliance with environmental legislation on assessing the impact of the wind farm Derrybrien, Co Galway.
The fine is due to the “seriousness and duration” of the failure to carry out an environmental impact assessment on the wind farm in the 11 years since a previous CJEU ruling on 3 July, 2008.
The legal action by the European Commission followed a massive landslide at Derrybrien on 16 October, 2003, when tonnes of peat were dislodged and polluted the Owendalulleegh River, resulting in the death of around 50,000 fish.
At the time Derrybrien was the country’s biggest-ever wind farm, and one of the largest in Europe, with 70 turbines. Its construction required the removal of large areas of forest and the extraction of peat up to a depth of 5.5 metres.
The European Commission said two investigations had concluded that the environmental disaster had been linked to the construction work on the wind farm.
On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby:
1. Declares that, by failing to take all measures necessary to comply with the judgment of 3 July 2008, Commission v Ireland (C‑215/06, EU:C:2008:380), Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 260(1) TFEU;
2. Orders Ireland to pay the European Commission a lump sum in the amount of EUR 5 000 000;
3. Orders Ireland to pay the Commission a periodic penalty payment of EUR 15 000 per day from the date of delivery of the present judgment until the date of compliance with the judgment of 3 July 2008, Commission v Ireland (C‑215/06, EU:C:2008:380);
4. Orders Ireland to pay the costs.