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Neglect of environment is not acceptable

20 August, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today accused the Irish government of neglecting their responsibilities under EU law in regards to implementing EU environment legislation on time.

A survey looking at environmental law in 2003 found that throughout the old 15 member states, there were 88 separate occasions when EU environment legislation was not implemented in national law within the specified time. Ireland was amongst the worst offenders.

Speaking today, Ms McDonald said:

"The recent EU report on the implementation of EU environmental law in 2003 makes for grim reading. Ireland was amongst the worst offender in converting EU environment legislation to national law within the specified time limit.

"We should be both embarrassed and concerned that laws relating to water, waste, nature protection and environmental impact assessments had been the most neglected by member states, including our own. Neglect of the environment is unacceptable and the Minister for the Environment has questions to answer regarding our non-compliance with vital legislation within the specified timeframe.

"In an era when the general public are rightly concerned about issues such as global warming, the government have a duty of care to implement progressive environmental legislation both in Ireland and from the EU. This report will not instil confidence in the Irish public that this government are up to the challenge of protecting our environment.

"All of this points to a sloppy half hearted approach to the environment by this government. It is not as if these EU laws mysteriously appeared last week, the government have known about their duty of compliance for a considerable time.

"I am calling upon this government to take the protection of our environment seriously and to implement progressive legislation speedily. Sinn Féin believes that a clean environment is not only a public good but also a fundamental social right in need of protection. " ENDS

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