Aquaculture licencing appeals fees contrary to access to justice provisions of the Aarhus Convention

31 May 2013
Dear Minister Coveney,
(cc. Minister Hogan)
During the month of May you issued c.35 Aquaculture licences for the Castlemaine Harbour in Co Kerry.
As you know, under  S.I. No. 309/2003 — Sea-Fishing Boat Licensing Appeals (Fees) Regulations 2003, anyone other than the applicant wishing to appeal against the issuing of these licences must pay a fee of €153.37 per licence.  This represents three quarters of the income of an unemployed person.
Further, should there be a reason or reasons why a person would need to appeal all the 35 licences in the interest of the public good, they would, over the period of one month, have to pay fees totalling €5,367.95.
Given these financial barriers, it is clear that the existing fee structure is contrary to the access to justice provisions in Article 9 of the Aarhus Convention.
The Environmental Pillar urges you as the Minister to remove these fees that at present provide a clear barrier of access to justice.
Kind regards,
Michael Ewing
The Environmental Pillar