Case Summary: Merriman & ors -v- Fingal County Council & ors; Friends of the Irish Environment Clg v. Fingal County Council & ors. [2017] IEHC 695


Republic of Ireland

Where the Plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of a decision to grant extended planning permission to the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), the High Court refused standing.

Click here for the High Court judgment


The Plaintiffs, which included multiple persons and the organisation Friends of the Irish Environment, sought to challenge the decision of Fingal County Council to allow the DAA extended planning permission to build a third runway at Dublin Airport. The Plaintiffs contended that such a development would have an adverse effect on the local environment and that the public should have been permitted to participate in this decision. They argued an implied personal Constitutional right to an environment that is consistent with the human dignity and well-being of all citizens.


The High Court refused to grant locus standi to challenge this decision, but


The High Court dismissed the applicant’s legal challenge on the grounds that they enjoy no standing under current legislation, namely the Planning and Development Act 2000. The extension of the planning permission, in contrast to the granting of the original application, was one that could be made without consulting the public, meaning there was no right of participation in the process. This was deemed to be justified and proportionate to the public interest.

In the view of the Court, there was a failure to establish that there was a threat to personal constitutional rights under this legislation and as such no locus standi could be accorded.

Points of Note

The High Court determined that while there was no standing to contest the decision to extend the planning permission, it acknowledged that Friends of the Irish Environment did have a sufficient basis to claim recognition of the implied, personal constitutional right to a dignified environment, as well as to argue standing as a body corporate with a bona fide concern and due public interest in the case.

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