Ann Marie Kelly
FOR THE ATTENTION OF:
GALWAY LAW CENTRE,
9 St Francis Street,
SIGNED COPY OF THIS E-MAIL TO BE SENT LATER BY REGISTERED POST WITH ENCLOSURES
Dear Ms Cormican,
Re: Legal Aid application for High Court constitutionality challenge (Reference AL541/WL7678)
Enclosed please find my application forms for Legal Aid, which I request the Legal Aid Board to consider please.
With reference to Section 2 on the enclosed LAA 3 Form (titled "Application for Legal Services"), I wish the Legal Aid Board to know that a company called Greenstar (which was earlier called Celtic Waste) have, in so far as I am aware, now got all of the licences they need to construct and operate a huge rubbish dump in Kilconnell, right on the edge of land farmed by my family, and within a mile or so of my family-home in Killaan, Woodlawn, County Galway.
This has happened in spite of much local opposition over a protracted period of time, and in spite of an An Bord Pleanala appeal which I understand has already cost local people somewhere in the region of EUR 30,000. Though local people believe the An Bord Pleanala decision to grant Greenstar a licence for their Kilconnell site was completely unlawful on several counts, they cannot afford the EUR 500,000 which I further understand they have been told it would cost to challenge the legality of the An Bord Pleanala decision in the High Court. Consequently, they decided several weeks ago against any such High Court action.
The licences Greenstar have been granted by An Board Pleanala and the Environment Protection Agency to operate the Kilconnell dump were a direct consequence of alterations made to the Waste Management Acts during, and possibly after, Year 2001.
The alterations to the Waste Management Acts I refer to removed decision making powers for my democratically elected local government representatives regarding the location of rubbish dumps and incinerators, and I strongly believe this represents a straightforward and blatant breach of Article 28A.1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland: which very clearly states: "The State recognises the role of local government in providing a forum for the democratic representation of local communities, in exercising and performing at local level powers and functions conferred by law and in promoting by its initiatives the interests of such communities."
Further disturbing questions arise for me, in terms of very deep concerns I harbour relating to unlawful interference with my constitutional rights by Government, in connection with the fact that the international Aarhus Convention Agreement signed by the Republic of Ireland on June 25th 1998 has NEVER, to the very best of my knowledge, been laid before Dail Eireann. Article 29.5.1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland very clearly states: "Every international agreement to which the State becomes a party shall be laid before Dail Eireann". Please note that a core part of the international Aarhus Convention Agreement entitles citizens to PARTICIPATE, from an EARLY stage, in environmental decision-making; and, that in the case of the Greenstar dump planned for Kilconnell, the land was SECRETLY purchased by Greenstar from a group of local landowners - so that I and my family did not even get to know about the plans for a local rubbish dump (let alone participate in any associated decisions) until well after Celtic Waste/Greenstar had legally secured the land in question. Not only that, I have reason to believe that once Celtic Waste/Greenstar got legal control of the land, they then proceeded to prevent environmental consultants employed by local people from entering the site, in order to properly prepare their case for the An Bord Pleanala appeal.
With due regard for what I have related above I now seek Legal Aid to challenge, in the High Court, the constitutionality of the two issues raised above in connection with my personal legal rights under the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland.
Please note that there is also a very PRESSING practical matter connected with the above set of legal issues in that I wish to obtain a court injunction (with the help of Legal Aid) to prevent Greenstar from starting any construction work on their Kilconnell site until after the High Court has decided on the constitutionality issues which deeply bother me, which I have outlined above in relation to Articles 28A and 29 of our Constitution. As things stand, it is my understanding that Greenstar can lawfully start up construction operations at any time now. One of several things which concerns me about this present "open door" situation for Greenstar is that there are numerous reports circulating locally of UNLAWFUL actions being planned to prevent Greenstar from starting their construction operations in Kilconnell. Personally, and possibly because I am a law-student, I strongly believe that taking unlawful action is the wrong way for local people to go about dealing with this situation: particularly when there exists the possibility of lawfully preventing Greenstar from starting work through the use of a court injunction - until such time as the overall constitutionality issues are decided upon.
In making this request for Legal Aid, I feel I should point out to all concerned that I am also very conscious of the important assurance given in Article 40.3.1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland which reads: "The State guarantees to respect, and, as far practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate the personal rights of the citizen."
I look forward to hearing from you regarding this request for legal aid at your earliest convenience please.
Ann Marie Kelly.
ENCLOSURES: To be included with registered letter.
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