Heritage body An Taisce has launched a High Court bid to try to overturn the Government's granting of an oil and gas drilling licence off the coast of Dalkey in Dublin.
An Taisce, which aims to preserve Ireland's national heritage and environment, claims the Government acted unlawfully by holding that no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was required before awarding the licence to Irish-listed company Providence Resources.
An Taisce claims the decision to grant the licence should be quashed as a result.
The licence for an area in the Kish Bank basin allows the company to carry out a number of activities including a seismic study, a well-site survey and to drill an exploration well. The edge of the licence area lies about 10km from Dalkey Island.
An Taisce has brought proceedings against both the Junior Minister for the Environment Jan O'Sullivan, who was delegated the power to grant foreshore licences on behalf of the State, and the Attorney General.
In an affidavit, the chairman of An Taisce, John Harnett, said the National Trust had brought the court action because it was "very concerned at the manner in which consent for this project has been obtained".
James Devlin, for An Taisce, said it was his client's case that an EIA was required before the Government could issue the foreshore licence.
Leave to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex-parte basis (one side only), by Mr Justice Michael Peart yesterday. The matter was made returnable to February of next year.