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‘Constitutional eco-rights should be on climate agenda’

11 Jun 2021 / environment Print

‘Constitutional eco-rights should be on climate agenda’

Climate Case Ireland (CCI), the group behind a successful legal challenge to Ireland’s 2017 plan to tackle climate change, is now calling on the Government to look at introducing a constitutional right to a sustainable environment.

In an open letter to the Department of Communication, Climate Action, and the Environment, it calls on the Government parties to announce the date for a Citizens’ Assembly on the climate emergency before the Dáil recess begins on 16 July.

CCI says that the assembly’s agenda should include the possible recognition of a constitutional right to “a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment”.

Though CCI won its Supreme Court case last year, the judgment also said that the right to a healthy environment could not be derived from the Constitution.

Clodagh Daly, CCI’s campaign co-ordinator, said that the Constitution was “a living document” and needed to change.

Climate emergency

The campaign group also wants the assembly to look at the principles of a ‘just transition’, based on guidelines from the International Labour Organisation.

The Dáil declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in May 2019, and called for the Citizens’ Assembly to examine how the State could improve its response to the issue of biodiversity loss.

CCI says that “no visible progress” has been made on a commitment to the assembly made in the Programme for Government agreed between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party last year.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland