Written Answers. - EU Directives.

Ulick Burke

Question:

491 Mr. U. Burke asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands the number of prosecutions that have been undertaken by Dúchas and her Department in respect of the Habitats Directive; the stage each case is at; and the reason for prosecution in each case or proposed case. [7697/01]

Dúchas has completed five prosecutions under the Habitats Regulations, a further five cases are listed for court hearing over the coming weeks and two cases are in the early stage of preparation for prosecution. All these offences arise from the notifiable actions, i.e., the list of activities that are potentially damaging to a particular SAC, and that should not be undertaken without obtaining my consent in advance. In every case damage was done to the relevant SAC.

I would like to stress that, while I regard prosecution as the last resort, nevertheless, when faced with the prospect of deliberate damage to these vulnerable sites, I will not hesitate to utilise the legal sanctions available to me.

Question No. 492 answered with Question No. 490.