𝐴 𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑢𝑠𝑎𝑙 𝑏𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑔𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑛𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑥𝑖𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑡𝑙𝑦 𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑡 𝐵𝑜𝑦𝑙𝑎𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑚𝑎𝑦 𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑓𝑎𝑣𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑒𝑙𝑎𝑦 𝑖𝑛 𝑒𝑥𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑇𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑦 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑎𝑥𝑝𝑎𝑦𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑠𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑙 ℎ𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑒𝑢𝑟𝑜
Following repeated requests for the Irish government to withdraw from the International Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Justice, Senator Lynn Boylan issued High Court proceedings against the government earlier this week claiming Ireland’s adoption of the treaty was unconstitutional.
Last September Senator Boylan issued a statement when Poland withdrew from the treaty calling on Ireland to follow suit.
She said “ratified in the 1990’s, it has no place in a post Paris Agreement world.
“The Treaty’s Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause has enabled fossil fuel companies to sue Governments for policies that aim to phase out or curb the use of fossil fuels.
“Only last month, Oil firm Rockhopper successfully sued the Italian Government for £210 million.
Even the most recent IPCC report singled out the Energy Charter Treaty as a barrier to decarbonisation.
“It is no surprise therefore that the Polish Government have rightly come to the conclusion that this dinosaur treaty is beyond reform and that the only option is for EU Member States to withdraw.
“Before the Summer break, I tabled a motion calling for Ireland to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty, I am now calling on the Government to support this call and to join Poland in leaving,” her statement said.
Senator Boylan’s High Court proceedings come weeks after Environment Minister Eamon Ryan’s refusal to grant fossil fuel company Barryroe Offshore Energy a permit to pursue a key exploration project 50km off the south-west coast of Ireland.
The area is home to the Barryroe undersea prospect that was discovered in 2012 and which has been estimated by the company to hold billions of euros worth of oil and gas.
Barryroe’s major shareholder is beef baron Larry Goodman.
Last year, Barryroe secured funding of up to €40m that was underwritten by Goodman’s Vevan investment vehicle.
Barryroe’s partner in the venture, Lansdowne Oil and Gas, announced in a statement following Ryan’s decision that it was taking legal advice referencing the ISDS mechanism in the Energy Charter Treaty that allows corporations to sue where a change of government policy or regulations affects their revenues or anticipated revenues.
Shares in Barryroe and Lansdowne Oil & Gas plunged when news broke that the Barryroe lease undertaking would not be granted.
Barryroe is listed on the London Stock Exchange and its share price has plunged from £1.85 in May to 45p at close of business yesterday.
Landsdowne shares have plunged from 43p in May to 14p yesterday.
Lansdowne is a North Celtic Sea-focused oil and gas company that has invested USD20 million in the Barryroe project.
In the statement Landsdowne Chief Executive Steve Boldy said: “It is with great reluctance that we must now resort to legal proceedings in relation to our investment as we would much rather have moved forward with a Lease Undertaking and appraisal drilling, for which funds had been sourced, to advance Barryroe toward development for the benefit of all stakeholders.
“We believe we have a very strong claim against the Irish government and the company will be resolute in defending and protecting the rights and investment of our shareholders.”
Barryroe was in the process of raising venture capital when Minister Ryan’s announcement hit. A report in today’s Irish Independent says Barryroe has €176,000 left in its bank account, enough to keep it afloat for three weeks.