Fine Gael TD for Galway West & Mayo South

Parliamentary Question No 393 on Tuesday, 26th March, 2013

Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil:

To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government:

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if, in view of his central role in the IROPI planning process, his Department will proceed with an IROPI application for the Galway city outer bypass should the Court of Justice of the European Union find that the current application compromises the integrity of a special area of conservation..

– Seán Kyne.


Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (Ms. J. O’Sullivan)


The application to An Bord Pleanála for approval of this   project was made prior to the commencement of Part XAB of the Planning and   Development Act 2000 on 21 September 2011 and accordingly the relevant   provisions in relation to appropriate assessment of this application are   contained in the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations, 1997.


Under Regulation 30(5) of those Regulations An Bord   Pleanála may, notwithstanding a negative assessment in relation to the   effects on the integrity of a European site, where it is satisfied that there   are no alternative solutions decide to agree to the proposed road development   where the proposed road development has to be carried out for imperative   reasons of overriding public interest.

In accordance with Regulation 30(6) the reasons must   include reasons of a social or economic nature and, If the site concerned   hosts a priority natural habitat type or a priority species, the only   considerations of overriding public interest may be:
(i) those relating to human health or public safety,
(ii) beneficial consequences of primary importance for the   environment, or
(iii) further to an opinion from the European Commission   to other imperative reasons of overriding public interest.