The European Commission has called on Ireland to tighten up laws around environmental pollution, biodiversity and water quality.

The country has been referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union for allegedly failing to correctly write regulations contained in the EU water framework directive into national law.

Brussels maintains that successive Irish governments have inadequately made sure EU laws around water abstraction and interfering with natural water flow, such as damming, are implemented here in full.

Invasive species

Ireland is among six member states being called to task on its legal framework around preventing and managing invasive species.

As invasive species contribute to biodiversity loss, states are legally required to establish, implement and communicate an invasive species action plan but, Ireland fell short of this.

This is despite Brussels raising this non-compliance in a letter dated June 2021.


The Commission called on Ireland and 13 other EU countries to improve their progress on commitments made to reduce air pollutants under another legal framework - the national emissions ceiling directive.

Ammonia - the vast majority of which is emitted from farms - was the pollutant that most countries failed to reduce by the amounts set out in law.

The Commission is sending letters of formal notice to these 14 member states, which now have two months to respond and address the shortcomings raised by the Commission.

In the absence of a satisfactory response to these letters, the Commission said it may decide to take the next step and issue a reasoned opinion.