E-mail to Fair Murtagh (Law Firm) dated July 16th 2004

     
 

Note added on July 22nd 2004

The references in the e-mail below to "Waste Management (Amendment) Act 2002" are the result of the following sentence in a letter dated December 19th 2003 from Deputy Padraic McCormac TD: "I think this validity was given to him in the Waste Management Amendment Act 2002."

An Internet search carried out today suggests that there is no Waste Management Amendment Act 2002.  Consequently, it is thought that Mr McCormac may have meant to write "Waste Management Amendment Act 2001".  Assuming that is the case, all occurrences of the year "2002" in the e-mail below should be read as "2001".

Evidence of a "Waste Management (Amendment) Bill 2002" was found.  However, it does not seem to have ever become law?  For further information please click here.

 
     
 
     
 
 
Cc: Mr Gearoid Geraghty (Fair Murtagh) ; Law Society (Republic of Ireland) ; Chief Justice of The Republic of Ireland (Mr. Ronan Keane) ; President Mary McAleese ; Prime Minister Bertie Ahern ; Assistant Police Commissioner (Galway area) ; Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy (Chief Commissioner of Police, Republic of Ireland) ; Margot Wallstrom (European Union Environment Commissioner) ; Commission of the European Communities (Attn. Secretary-General) ; 01 Eir ; 02 Yah ; 03 Hot ; 04 Hot ; 05 Yah ; An Bord Pleanala ; Environment Protection Agency ; The Democracy Commission (Ireland) ; Kilconnell Anti-Dump Group Secretary (Annette Gilchrist) ; New Inn Anti-Dump Chairman (Vincent Costello) ; Woodlawn House Preservation Society ; Tara / Skreen Group ; New Inn AntiDump Internet Group ; Nature Ireland ; Kilconnell Anti-Dump Internet Group ; Green Party Ireland (Yahoo Group) ; East Galway Green Party (Siobhan Nevin) ; CelticParty(Yahoo) ; Ann Marie Kelly Discussion Group ; An Taisce (Yahoo Discussion Group)
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 3:01 PM
Subject: [Celtic Party] Extant police warrant for arrest, and Waste Management (Amendment) Act 2002
 
Dear Mr Egan,
 
As you may already know (from earlier correspondence I have sent to your colleague Mr Geraghty), I have been trying for a number of years now to find a way of legally challenging the constitutionality of Waste Management (Amendment) Act 2002.
 
Though I have sought help from numerous sources during the past few years (which includes several lawyers, law firms, politicians, political parties, the Republic of Ireland Law Society, the British Law Society, European Union organisations, human-rights organisations, and so on), it is only very recently that I accidentally happened to come across the information I have been seeking; and, for your convenience, I have reproduced it below (together with the Internet address of where I found it).
 
I would now like to proceed along the lines suggested in the government information set out further down; and, it would be very much appreciated if you could let me have information regarding the legal costs that doing so will involve.
 
I wish you to know that I have already appealed to An Board Pleanala on February 21st 2004 regarding the constitutionality of Waste Management (Amendment) Act 2002; and, I did so because I believe a part of the Act is in breach of Article 28A of the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland: i.e. the part which effectively removes all major decision making powers from the democratically elected local government representatives regarding the location of huge rubbish dumps and incinerators. 
 
The An Bord Pleanala references for the above mentioned appeal are: PL 07.205181 (P.A.Reg.Ref: 02/3811).   Further details can be found at the following Internet address: http://www.finnachta.com/BordPleanalaAppeal.htm
 
Unfortunately, An Bord Pleanala appear to me to have completely ignored all five of the points I raised in my appeal to them dated February 21st 2004. (The five points in question can be seen at the above Internet address.)
 
I feel I should make you aware that I was invited to a well attended meeting of the Kilconnell Anti-Dump Group last Wednesday evening (July 14th 2004), and that it became very clear to me during the meeting that none of the many other people present were at all happy with the An Board Pleanala appeal decision either. 
 
It also appears to be the case that the Kilconnell Anti-Dump Group have very seriously considered challenging the legality of the An Board Pleanala decision in the High Court: and that they have been told by their lawyers (I understand), that it could cost up to EUROS 600,000 to do so.  In so far as it is possible for me to judge, they now appear to have definitely decided against taking any such High Court action - entirely because they feel the local community would not be able to afford the legal costs, if the case were to go against them.
I also heard at last Wednesday's meeting (Kilconnell Anti-Dump), that before Celtic Waste can begin any operations at the Kilconnell site, they need some further licence or other from the Environment Protection Agency - which, I understand, is now due to be issued sometime within the coming few weeks.  Consequently, I am copying this e-mail to the Environment Protection Agency: with an implicit request that they put this particular licence decision in abeyance until after the constitutionality of Waste Management (Amendment) Act 2002 has been checked, and fully decided upon, by the High Court.
 
I am also copying this e-mail to the police, because, as your colleague Mr Geraghty will confirm, there is an extant warrant for my arrest still in existence - which is directly connected with one of my many earlier attempts to try and have the constitutionality of Waste Management (Amendment) Act 2002 checked in a responsible manner, by the appropriate authority.  Background information to this "Internet road sign" incident can be found at the following Internet location: http://www.finnachta.com/Election/May_2002_General_Election.htm#In
 
Later today I will send a printed (and signed) copy of this e-mail, addressed to you, to the Fair Murtagh office in Athlone.  I will send it by registered post.
 
I will also place a copy of this e-mail on the Internet at the following address, which has translation facilities for several European Union languages: http://www.finnachta.com/FairMurtaghEmail16July2004.htm
 
I look forward to receiving a written reply from you regarding the two main issues I have referred to above:  i.e.  (1) the extant police warrant for my arrest; and, (2) the cost of having the constitutionality of Waste management (Amendment) Act 2002 checked by the High Court.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
 
 
Mr William Finnerty
"St Albans"
New Inn
Ballinasloe
County Galway.
 
++++++++++
 
The information below has come from the following government Internet address:
http://www.oasis.gov.ie/government_in_ireland/the_constitution/unconstitutional_legislation
_and_decisions.html
 
++++++++++

Unconstitutional Legislation and Decisions

Information

The High Court in Ireland has a power or "jurisdiction" called "judicial review". Judicial review is a way for the High Court to supervise the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) to make sure that legislation does not conflict with the (pdf)Constitution (or 'Basic Law' of Ireland). It is also a way for the High Court to supervise the lower courts, tribunals and other bodies to ensure that they make their decisions properly.

Rules

Judicial Review of Legislation

The High Court has the power or "jurisdiction" to cancel any law or part of any law that is repugnant to the Constitution. This means that if you believe that a law breaches the Constitution or your fundamental rights, you may bring "judicial review" proceedings in the High Court.

In order to bring judicial review proceedings, you must simply show that you have "sufficient interest" in the proceedings, i.e., that the legislation affects you in some real way. You must also show that you have an arguable case, i.e., that your case has grounds. Once you have passed this preliminary test, the High Court will allow you to apply for judicial review.

The High Court will then examine the legislation in question and decide whether or not it conflicts with the Constitution. If it decides that the legislation does conflict with the Constitution, it may annul or cancel the law or the part of it that is unconstitutional.

The Irish President also has the power to start judicial review proceedings. Under the Constitution, if he or she considers that a new Bill might raise constitutional problems, he or she may refer the Bill to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will then examine the Bill and hear arguments on both sides to decide whether or not the Bill is constitutional and can be passed as legislation.

Judicial Review of Public Decisions

Public decisions may be judicially reviewed by the High Court to determine whether they are unconstitutional or illegal. Some examples of public decisions include:

  • Decisions of the District and Circuit Courts
  • Inquest verdicts
  • Decisions of tribunals
  • Deductions from army pensions
  • Discharge of a member of the defence forces
  • Disqualification from receiving social welfare payments
  • Refusals of an Irish passport, marriage certificate, or visa
  • Decisions to deport asylum-seekers
  • Decisions of An Bord Pleanala relating to planning permission
  • Decisions of the Legal Aid Board and the Law Society.

    The basic principles of public decision-making are:

  • The decision-maker must have authority to make the decision that affects you. If the decision-maker has the authority to make the decision, it must not go beyond the limits of its authority.
  • You are entitled to fair procedure in how the decision is reached. This means that the decision-maker must not be biased and the decision-maker must give you a fair hearing. You must be given an adequate opportunity to present your case. You must be informed of the matter and you must be given a chance to comment on the material put forward by the other side.

    If the decision-maker does not have authority or does not give you fair procedure, you may bring judicial review proceedings in the High Court to challenge the decision. You must show that you have "sufficient interest" in the proceedings, i.e., that you were affected in some way by the decision you are challenging. You must also show that you have an arguable case, i.e., that your case has grounds.

    The High Court will examine the decision and how it was reached and will decide whether or not it was unconstitutional or illegal. The High Court may then quash or cancel the decision.

    How to apply

    If you wish to begin judicial review proceedings, you should contact a solicitor who will in turn brief a barrister to draft the papers for the case. It is also possible for you to represent yourself if you wish to keep your legal costs down.

    There is no fixed rate of charges for legal fees in Ireland so you should obtain some quotes before deciding on legal representation. Your solicitor must advise you in writing of the fees you will be charged for his/her services. If it is not possible to give you a definite sum, he/she must estimate a sum or at the very least describe the basis upon which charges or fees will be calculated.


  • This document was printed from the Oasis website (http://www.oasis.gov.ie/).
     

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    2001Act-2002Bill

         
     

    Waste Management (Amendment) Act 2001
    http://www.ucc.ie/law/irlii/statutes/2001_36.htm

    Waste Management (Amendment) Bill 2002
    http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?fn=/
    documents/bills28/bills/2002/3702/default.htm

    Clarification sought from
    Deputy Padraic McCormack T.D. (July 23rd 2003)

     
         
     

     
         
     

    Acknowledgement of receipt from EPA on July 16th 2004
     (Environment Protection Agency)
    can be seen at:

    http://groups.msn.com/WoodlawnHousePreservationSociety/general.msnw?action=get
    _message&mview=0&ID_Message=39&LastModified=4675480945464589653

     

     
         
     
     

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