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20 November 2007: EP Environment Committee visits Ireland


A delegation from the European Parliament's Environment Committee, led by German MEP Richard Seeber paid a visit to Ireland on 19 and 20 November to examine the work being carried out by the Irish Government and by stakeholders in the implementation of EU environmental law and in the fight against climate change.  During the visit, the delegation met with John Gormley TD, Irish Minister for the Environment and with representatives of the Sustainable Development Council, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food and Veterinary Office.  They also visited the site of what could become Ireland's largest incinerator at Poolbeg in Dublin and had an opportunity to see the work of Techrec - an electronic waste recycling facility - at first-hand.  

The Members of the delegation included Hungarian MEP, Péter Olajos, Fine Gael MEP Avril Doyle, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre De Brún and Independent MEP Kathy Sinnott who is the Environment Committee's contact person for the European Food and Veterinary Office.

John Gormley TD, Ireland's Minister for the Environment spoke to the delegation about Ireland's position in relation to climate change and emphasised the importance of enforcing environmental law and getting waste and water policies right.  The head of the delegation, Richard Seeber MEP asked the Minister about Ireland's intentions in relation to burden-sharing on climate change, particularly in light of Ireland's economic development in recent decades.  Kathy Sinnott MEP asked about efforts to change Irish behaviour in the area of climate change.  Bairbre De Brún MEP also asked about the waste hierarchy in Ireland.  Members of the delegation were generally interested in the lack of water charges in Ireland.

The delegation then met with representatives of Comhar - Ireland's Sustainable Development Council.  The issue of Ireland's non-ratification of the Aarhus Convention was discussed together with the question of the achievements of civil society input in the general area of environmental policy.

During their presentation at the European Parliament's offices in Dublin, the Environmental Protection Agency gave an outline of its activities, particularly in relation to the implementation and enforcement of environmental law.

The delegation paid a visit to the site of what could become Ireland's largest waste incinerator on Tuesday morning.  Following a number of questions from Avril Doyle MEP, they were informed about how the incinerator would form part of Ireland's waste strategy.

The next onsite visit was to Techrec, where the delegation was fascinated by the process of recycling electronic waste.  Techrec is a private enterprise which saw the market opportunity involved in the WEEE directive for example.

The final visit was to the European Food and Veterinary Office where topical issues such as Brazilian beef and the Russian ban on Polish imports were discussed.

For further information, please contact Eimear Ní Bhroin, Press Officer at or 086 8559423.