Ireland taken to European court over pollution of waterways

DUBLIN, Ireland: The European Commission is taking Ireland to court, claiming that Ireland has not protected the country’s lakes, rivers, and coasts from pollution.

In a second case against Ireland, the European Court of Justice will rule on accusations that Ireland has failed to prevent invasive species from entering its waterways.

Specifically, the European Commission said Ireland has failed to adopt the Water Framework Directive into national law, which would protect the country’s lakes, rivers, and coasts from pollution.

Earlier, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that only half of Ireland’s rivers, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters are in satisfactory condition. The agency noted that the continuing decline in water quality means Ireland will not meet the EU and national goal of restoring all waters to good or better status within the next five years.

The environmental agency blames farming run-off for much of the "alarming" deterioration. Figures cited claim that there has been a nationwide decrease of 15.7 percent in the number of water bodies in satisfactory condition, and a 9.5 percent decline in the number of coastal water bodies in satisfactory condition.

Ireland had earlier passed legislation to protect the nation’s waterways, but the European Commission has said that these were insufficient.

In a second case, Ireland, along with Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Latvia, and Portugal, must answer in the European Court of Justice over the management of invasive species. Officials note that creatures not native to ecosystems are the second greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide, after the destruction of habitats.