The Environmental Law Implementation Group (ELIG) was established as a consequence of a settlement made between the Irish Government and An Taisce following a case relating to the Corrib gas projects.
The overarching objective of the ELIG process is to assist in the protection and enhancement of Ireland’s environment by seeking to improve the transposition, implementation and enforcement of Environmental Law. To enable this to happen, the ELIG processes are designed to facilitate greater and more effective communication between environmental NGOs as represented by the Environmental Pillar and An Taisce (collectively EPAT), and the Government and its Departments and agencies.
ELIG is designed to act as the primary vehicle through which communication and problem solving, in relation to the issues above, should take place. Issues of concern or non-compliance with any element of environmental law identified by An Taisce or the other members of the Environmental Pillar should, where appropriate, first be raised with the identified government key contact point for the issue through the ELIG processes.
To do this a mechanism exists whereby two nominees of the Department of the Environment work together with one nominee from each of the Environmental Pillar and An Taisce to form the Bureau of ELIG. The ELIG Bureau acts as an intermediary or broker between the EPAT on the one hand, and the Government and its Departments and agencies on the other. It does this in order to enhance and improve upon the case-by-case, or issue-by-issue, engagement on environmental law matters.
So for example, if the EPAT members see a particular issue in relation to say aquaculture, then the matter is raised at the Bureau. The DCCAE officials then contact the relevant officials in DAFM and try to resolve the issues raised and usually arrange a meeting between the parties. As this process is consequent on a decision of the Courts, the DAFM and other relevant government bodies are required to respond and participate. This is a very powerful tool for the EPAT members
To enable the EPAT members to act effectively, and so in part to fulfil its responsibilities, the government agreed to provide the resources to allow for the employment of an NGO ELIG Facilitator, and to enable EPAT members to engage effectively. The role of the Facilitator is to provide a driving focus for the EPAT ELIG initiative and to facilitate EPAT members to enable them to engage in a productive and creative manner with ELIG.