But it still hasn't been ratified.
What is the Aarhus Convention?
When in opposition, the Green Party used to regularly complain about the government's refusal to ratify the convention, but since about June 2007, they have gone very quiet about it. Finian McGrath TD used to raise it now and then as well, but then he got amnesia too, and these days only Sinn Féin seems to remember that Ireland is the only EU member state not to ratified the convention, and nobody pays attention to what they say.
The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters was adopted on 25th June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in the 'Environment for Europe' process.
The Aarhus Convention is a new kind of environmental agreement. The Convention:
* Links environmental rights and human rights
* Acknowledges that we owe an obligation to future generations
* Establishes that sustainable development can be achieved only through the involvement of all stakeholders
* Links government accountability and environmental protection
* Focuses on interactions between the public and public authorities in a democratic context.
So why has Ireland never ratified the convention? Some say it's just the usual refusal to deal with environmental protection in a country which thinks there is an infinite supply of tourists, and concern for planning and the countryside is some sort of devilish plot to put rich farmers and builders into the poorhouse.
Other people say that they have heard from sources in Fianna Fáil that Ireland simply can't sign the agreement, until the Shell project in Mayo is completed. Now that's just hearsay, it couldn't be true could it?
More information on Aarhus can be found at this website:UNECE - United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
If you want to amuse yourself, write to the Minister for the Environment and ask him why Ireland hasn't ratified the convention.