Eco Advocacy was founded by Kieran Cummins in 2015. It was considered essential to fill a void in advocating on issues of Planning and Environmental law in the Irish context.
Client Earth was founded for similar reasons in the UK in c.2008 and operates from London.
Kieran Cummins, our founder and current C.E.O. was already hugely experience in the planning and environmental sector. Resources are always a limiting factor, but we endeavour to to conduct the necessary research to facilitate prosecution of court actions and for comment on planning proposals. This will typically include planning searches, land registry searches, photography and ordinance survey, to allude to but some of this. We can organise specialist reports to inform comment and the basis for a grounding affidavit in litigation cases. Furthermore, we have significant expertise in making submissions to the statutory authorities on planning and policy issues. We are au fait the functioning of local government and other statutory agencies.
We are firm proponents of sustainable development and have extensive knowledge and expertise in all aspects of environmental law and best practice. We are hugely experienced on diverse environmental issues ranging from large scale quarry proposals to telecommunication's masts, large scale agricultural facilities, housing developments, peat bogs, wind farms, and so on. We are most concerned with the lethargic attitude to enforcement of existing laws, licences and planning consents and continue to lobby on these issues.
In Ireland, the coming into force of the 1963 planning act mandated that all developments in Ireland requires planning permission from that date forwards. The local authorities are the primary agencies in the determination of planning applications' except if specific developments are deemed to be a strategic infrastructure, in which case they are dealt with by An Bord Pleanála (The Planning Appeals Board in Ireland) who also deal with planning appeals.
England and Wales
In England, the passing of the Town and Country planning act of 1947 imposed the requirement to obtain planning permission and nationalised the right to develop land in response to a growing concern of urban sprawl and following the Barrow Commission of 1940 and the Scott Committee into rural land use of 1941. The planning system in England was consolidated in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
We have forged alliances with specialists within the wider planning/ environmental community, including Hydrogeologists, Land surveyors, Archaeologists, Ecologists, etc. and provides support for planning and environmental issues, which frequently arise as a consequence of unauthorised development or the unforeseen results of poorly planned developments.
The remediation solution will usually require the coordination and collaboration of a number of specialists in various fields.
We endeavour to provide support for planning and environmental defence and has significant experience with regard to the extractive industry (quarries), major agricultural developments, housing estates, telecommunications masts, intensification, change of use and other significant commercial developments. The extractive industry has been particularly divisive in Ireland during the period from 1998 to present, giving rise to unresolved reinstatement programs.
We also advise on issues of policy reform and lobby for change in areas where lacunas in the law exist. Regrettably, Ireland has had a poor record in keeping pace with important international environmental developments and has been the subject of a number of adverse judgments from the European Court of Justice for failure to implement European law e.g. C215-08 and C50-09. Ireland’s delay in ratifying the Aarahus Convention, to which it committed to in 1998, and only implemented in 2012, is but one example. We are happy to work with statutory authorities to ensure Ireland's compliance with its national and international obligations.
Kieran Cummins, C.E.O. and founder of Eco Advocacy
Kieran is a qualified solicitor in two jurisdictions; namely in Ireland and in England and Wales (though he currently doesn't actually practice as a solicitor and acts purely as a consultant). He holds a BSc in Management and Law, a Diploma in Legal Studies and a Diploma in Horticulture. Currently, Kieran acts as a consultant drawing on his two fields of training and experience; Legal and Horticultural.
Kieran was elected to the Meath Strategic Planning & Economic Development SPC (Strategic Policy Committee) in December 2009, where he represents the voluntary sector. Kieran is a member of the Law Society of Ireland, the Law Society of England and Wales, the Royal Horticultural Society, the Irish Environmental Law Association and Birdwatch Ireland. In 2015, Kieran was elected as the President of the Meath Archaeological & Historical Society [founded 1919]. He is also a member of the Law Society's (Ireland) Human Rights committee.
Photography: Kieran is also an experienced photographer, and employs that skill to great effect to professionally illustrate issues for high court proceedings and the various submissions which he prepares. Occasionally he holds exhibitions of his work. You can view some of his photography, on http://www.kierancummins.eu
Mediator: Kieran is an accredited mediator and you are invited to view more information on this by selecting the ‘Mediation’ tab from the menu on this site.
Landscape Design: In his earlier career, Kieran worked as head gardener/ supervisor with Dublin County Councils Parks Department. He has significant experience in the area of landscaping together with remediation plans and has worked on some very challenging sites. Possessing such unique experience and expertise has proven to be very valuable when assessing EIA's and other planning proposals.
Music: Additionally, Kieran is a musician and multi-instrumentalist, playing Harp, Violin, Piano Accordion and Guitar with vocals. He is treasurer to Cairde na Cruite (Friends of the Irish Harp); the irish national harpers association.