Planning and environment in Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody 'excels at providing quick and commercially focused advice and practical solutions' and handles a range of matters for domestic and international corporates, state and local government bodies, private developers and financial institutions. Expanding on its strength in energy and infrastructure projects, the group has recently seen notable instructions relating to strategic environmental assessments and environmental impact assessments; it has also advised on compliance issues for sites licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Alan Roberts and consultant Alison Fanagan jointly lead the practice, which also fields 'trailblazerJason Milne, who has experience as an environmental consultant.

Practice head(s):

Alan Roberts; Alison Fanagan


This team is providing cutting edge advice. They work so closely with us that we feel they are an extension of our team. Get in the trenches with us.’

Very strong in this niche area.’

The team, and in particular Alison Fanagan, excel in providing quick, commercially focused advice and practical solutions for environmental and planning issues that arise.

Jason Milne and Brendan Curran are trailblazers in this space. Top-class advice delivered quickly in a user friendly way. Simply superb.

Alison Fanagan is very quick to understand the issues and provide practical, commercial advice to enable decisions to be made and strategies to be created. She is excellent at applying her expert knowledge to the commercial realities and advising on the best course of action.’

Key clients

Irish Water

Ballycumber Wind Farm

Exola DAC

Blackstone Group International Partners

Statkraft Ireland Limited

Gas Networks Ireland


Green Energy Supply ltd

Blackrock Investment Management (UK) Ltd

Greencoat Capital LLP

Transport Infrastructure Ireland

The Carlyle Group


Longport Developments Limited

Monteco Holdings Limited

Lagan Asphalt Ltd

Tesco Ireland

Enva Ireland Limited

Brookfield Renewable Ireland Holdings Limited

Derrysallagh Windfarm Ltd

PSA Sugrue Limited

Knockacummer Wind Farm Ltd

Engie Renewables Ltd

Kennedy Wilson Europe Limited

Glenveagh Properties PLC

Patrizia Immobilien AG

Marlet Property Group

Chartered Land Ltd

Airbnb Ireland ULC

Ark Data Centres Ltd

Balfour Beatty CLG Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Oriel Windfarm on the planning and environmental aspects of the development of the proposed 330MW Oriel offshore wind farm in Ireland.
  • Acting for Green Energy Supply in High Court proceedings issued by local residents alleging noise nuisance caused by its turbines.
  • Assisting Greencoat Renewables with its acquisition of equity interests in a portfolio of operating wind generation assets totalling €136m.

Arthur Cox

Arthur Cox is widely recognised as one of the leading firms in the environment and planning field, with a practice that is ‘second to none’. Practice head Deborah Spence is an ‘impressive planning and environment lawyer’. She advised Facebook on the expansion of its existing data centre in Clonee and acted for Kilsaran Concrete as the notice party in two sets of judicial review proceedings challenging the grant of substitute consent and permission to further develop its quarry at Bellewstown. Consultant Yvonne Scannell, who is ‘a genius’, and the ‘extremely pragmaticDanielle Conaghan assisted Irish Water with a number of critical water and waste water projects.

Practice head(s):

Deborah Spence


‘The Arthur Cox Planning and Environment Team are second to none.’

‘I would characterise my experience of working with this practice as very constructive, supportive and positive, leading to much improved understanding of client position on often complex contractual and regulatory issues.’

‘The team has a depth of expertise in the area that sets it apart from other firms.  The verbal and written advice they provide is to a very high standard and is well constructed and accessible. They are willing to spend time exploring the particular business context of the legal advice sought and to give clear opinions on the risks of pursuing different strategies.’

‘The Arthur Cox Planning and Environmental team would always be my first point of call for any legal issues. They posses a very broad knowledge of all environmental issues.’

‘The Arthur Cox Planning and Environment team provide an excellent service that is recognised for their knowledge, vast experience and customer-centred approach.’

‘The quality of legal advice on completely diverse sets of circumstances and the fact that this advice is consistently on the mark.’

‘As a client, I am given the impression that Arthur Cox is enthusiastic about handling my query from the first phone call to the last.’

Work highlights

  • Advising Irish Water on a number of critical water and waste water projects
  • Advising Facebook on the expansion of its existing data centre in Clonee, County Meath
  • Acting for Irish Cement in relation to its applications for two separate cement plants at opposite sides of the country to replace the use of fossil fuel with non-fossil waste based solid recovered fuel (SRF), one of which was deemed strategic infrastructure applications due to its potential volume of SRF material.

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP

The 'extremely experienced' planning and environment team at Mason Hayes & Curran LLP acts for state bodies, banks, investors and developers on a wide variety of planning and environmental matters. Led by the 'excellent' Deirdre Nagle, the team advised EirGrid on its strategic infrastructure planning application for an upgrade to the transmission network supplying power to Intel’s manufacturing plant in Leixlip and assisted SSE on its planning consents for a power plant in Platin. Eoin Cassidy is also noted for his 'highly specialised knowledge of the energy infrastructure, which is rare to find in other firms'. 

Practice head(s):

Deirdre Nagle


‘Mason & Hayes & Curran planning and environment team has particular experience in the area of strategic development, with a wealth of knowledge of the consenting, judicial review and enforcement processes arising.’

‘The practice provides the legal expertise on planning and environment matters that is backed up with unrivalled experience in delivering major infrastructure, including through complex legal processes’.

‘The team stay involved with the wider industry to keep themselves informed and also to be part of the solutions that need to be implemented in order for projects to advance.’

‘The team are extremely experienced, have a specialist knowledge of the areas referred to and adopt a very intelligent approach which identifies potential solutions at an early stage and then work assiduously to achieve this solutions.’ 

‘Deirdre Nagle has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the nature of development and the requirements to obtain development consent and commercial objectives, as well as extensive litigation experience.’

‘Deirdre Nagel has a wealth of expertise and experience in the delivery of strategic infrastructure, yet is able to articulate her expertise in clear and simple language.’

‘Both Eoin Cassidy and Deirdre Nagle, have a highly specialised knowledge of the energy infrastructure which would be rare to find in other firms.’

‘Deirdre Nagel is excellent. Very good to work with and knowledgeable in the energy sector.’ 

Key clients

EirGrid plc

SSE Renewables


Grangegorman Development Agency

P J Hegarty & Sons UC



Environmental Protection Agency

Core Industrial REIT

Nord LB

Ulster Bank


Work highlights

  • Advising EirGrid on its strategic infrastructure planning application for an upgrade to the transmission network supplying power to Intel’s manufacturing plant in Leixlip, Co. Kildare.
  • Acting for SSE on its planning consents for a power plant in Platin, Co. Meath.
  • Acted for EirGrid in successfully defending the planning consent for the North-South Interconnector before the Supreme Court.


Led by the 'truly exceptional' Nicola Dunleavy, the planning and environment team at Matheson has been described by clients as 'preeminent' in its work, 'with committed advisers providing expertise geared to obtaining positive commercial outcomes'. Dunleavy, senior associate Ruadhán Kenny, the 'efficient' Maria Kennedy and 'very capable' senior associate Isla Stewart work for a variety of high-profile clients across the real estate, construction, pharmaceuticals, food, drink and transport sectors. The team is also widely recognised as a key name in the market for environmental and planning due diligence, as well as a large M&A deals.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Dunleavy


‘A pre-eminent practice in the area of planning and environmental law, with committed advisers providing expertise geared to obtaining positive commercial outcomes.’

‘Matheson offer high-quality environmental advice and can be relied on to deliver when needed.’

‘The team we deal with are always well briefed and on the same page. There is simply an excellent level of professionalism.’

‘Nicola Dunleavey is amazing to work with, she is on the ball at all times and works very well with clients to deliver what they need.’

‘Maria Kennedy is one of the leading environmental lawyers in Ireland and her advice is always precise and sound. She is able to turn work around in an very efficient manner. Isla Stewart is very capable and has a particularly useful industry background, which is very helpful in advising clients on energy matters. She comes recommended.’ 

‘Nicola Dunleavy is truly exceptional, head and shoulders above her competitors. She is an excellent lawyer and offers hugely practical and informed advice to her clients. She is enormously hard working and gets the best out of a dedicated team who all do their best for her.’

McCann FitzGerald

'Outstanding professionalBrendan Slattery leads the planning and environment group at McCann FitzGerald, which is notably active in renewable energy projects; the group also assists with utilities and waste management issues and acts on matters with an infrastructure and transport element. Slattery regularly advises on the planning and environmental aspects of infrastructure projects, Michelle Doyle, who 'gives top-class advice', focuses on contentious matters; and associate Sinead Martyn handles environmental impact assessment reviews. Key clients include Bord na Móna, Statkraft and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Slattery


Significant depth of expertise and capability across all areas of law. Professional, reliable, competent, focused on achieving good client outcomes.’

There is an immediate sense that the planning and environmental team are extremely knowledgeable of their subject matter and advice is robust and capable of scrutiny. I would say the team is on par with other top environmental and planning legal firms.’

In terms of industry practices and EPA/stakeholder management, McCanns are a very knowledgeable and competent team of solicitors.

I have always found the team to be very approachable, efficient, very knowledgeable and courteous and respectful in their approach.

A depth of experience and knowledge of both environmental defence and prosecution.’

On general strategic advice, project related matters and legislative drafting, we rely heavily on Michelle Doyle, who gave us top-class advice, dedicated and professional at all times.

The team members make themselves available to clients. In particular, Brendan Slattery is immediately responsive and makes himself available for meetings at short notice. The team’s extensive network is evident in their ability to reach out to stakeholders in the environmental and planning space to seek to resolve complex and commercially sensitive matters. Brendan conducts himself with professionalism and deals with people, including his ‘opposites’, with respect and collegiality.’

Brendan Slattery is an outstanding professional who provides legal services with aplomb. He is very approachable and has well-developed communication skills.’

Key clients

PSE Kinsale Energy

Bord na Móna plc

Kildare County Council

Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals

Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Roche Ireland Ltd

Shell E&P (Ireland) Limited

Galway County Council

daa plc

National Transport Authority

Irish Water

Engie (formerly GDF Suez)

CEWEP (Indaver Ireland and Covanta Energy)

Bartra Capital


Saorgus Energy

New Fortress Energy

Apollo Global Management

Marlet Real Estate

Greenlink Interconnector

Work highlights

  • Advised Roche Ireland on the closure and remediation of its production facility at Clarecastle, County Limerick.
  • Assisted Galway County Council with a major road development including advising on the requirements of the new Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.
  • Acting for PSE Kinsale on the first successful application for the decommissioning of an offshore gas field in Ireland.

Philip Lee

Philip Lee's 'very experienced' planning and environment department is jointly led by Alice Whittaker and Rachel Minch. The team is active in its work for the National Planning Board; it is currently representing the client in over 50 judicial reviews arising from its decisions. Renewable energy projects are also a key component of the practice's workload, with the team advising Microsoft on a corporate power purchase agreement with a 40MW wind farm, and assisting Innogy with the proposed development of an offshore wind farm. Other key clients include ScottishPower Renewables, Dublin City Council, Nautilus Data Technologies and O’Flynn Group.

Practice head(s):

Alice Whittaker; Rachel Minch


‘Very experienced team led by solicitors who are specialists in their field. Very few solicitors with comparable levels of this specialised experience available’.

‘Strong depth of knowledge in environmental and commercial matters, and consistently provide reliable and responsive advice, often in complicated situations. My first port of call for legal issues related to our projects’.

‘The full team deserves mention. The leadership of Rachel Minch and Alice Whittaker is dedicated and always in complete control of the workload, even under pressure. The quality of the work is a match for any available elsewhere and the Board’s success rate in its legal cases is largely attributable to their efforts’.

‘Rachel Minch combines efficiency, attention to detail and expertise with a strong interest in this area and excellent communication skills’. 

Key clients

An Bord Pleanála

Microsoft Corporation

Innogy Renewables UK Limited

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

ScottishPower Renewables

Nautilus Data Technologies

Commissioner for Environmental Information

NTM Capital

Westmeath County Council

Offaly Co Council

O’Flynn Group

Bank of Ireland

Dublin City Council

Marine Institute


Aqua Comms

Colas Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Microsoft on a corporate power purchase agreement with a 40MW wind farm in Ireland.
  • Representing the Irish Planning Board in over 50 judicial reviews arising from its decisions.
  • Advised Nautilus Data Technologies on a proposed innovative floating data centre development in Shannon Port.

William Fry

Led by Conor Linehan, the planning and environment practice at William Fry works closely alongside the real estate, projects and corporate team to provide the greatest possible service to its clients. Key clients include Linde AG, whose recent merger with Praxair Inc created the world's largest supplier of industrial gases. The team also represented Biocore in the planning and environmental consenting processes for a large bioenergy park at Castlerea. Other clients include Fingal Council, Hines, Edwards Lifesciences and EirGrid. Construction specialist Liam McCabe is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Conor Linehan

Work highlights

  • Represented Biocore in the planning and environmental consenting processes for a large bioenergy park at Castlerea, Co Roscommon.
  • Assisted with environmental regulatory advice and environmental due diligence in connection with Linde AG’s merger with Praxair Inc.
  • Advising Fingal Council on its role under the new Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Act 2019.

Eversheds Sutherland

The 'very professional' planning and environment team at Eversheds Sutherland is co-led by Stephen BarryMark Varian, Cian MacGinley and Peter Curran. Key recent work includes defending Kitara in class action proceedings relating to allegations of pyritic heave in a large residential complex in Dublin, acting for Spencer Place Development Company in proceedings that arose from the alleged disposal of hazardous waste at a waste facility, and representing a high-profile client in a planning injunction and associated nuisance claim. Kevin Collins left for Pinsent Masons LLP.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Barry, Mark Varian, Cian MacGinley, Peter Curran


‘Eversheds Sutherland have been very professional with all my legal matters. Good communication and willingness to explore all avenues’.

‘Stephen Barry really understands the issues and is very practical in his advice. Extremely good and making a name for himself in the area’. 

‘Stephen Barry, Mary Kiely and Michael Twomey- three outstanding professionals’.

Key clients

Michael Smith

Three Trees Wind Project Limited

Hibernia Reit Plc

Raragh/Mainstream Renewables

Siemens Plc

Kingspan Holdings (Ireland) Limited

CyrusOne Inc

Dublin Port Company

Element Power


Kingspan Environmental Limited

Nokia/ Alcatel-Lucent Ireland Limited

Lackan Wind Energy Limited

Cara Environmental Technology Limited

ADT Fire & Security Limited

Kitara Limited

SMR Windfarm Limited

Ashbourne meats

Ronan Group Real Estate

Chambury Development Company Limited

Kilcullen Landfill Limited

Ballynagran Landfill Limited

Knockharley Landfill Limited


National Development Finance Agency

Murphy International

Rilta Group

Edwards Life Sciences

Black Lough Wind Farm Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Three Trees Wind Project in an urgent application to the Commercial Court to secure injunctive relief relating to the construction of a wind farm.
  • Acted for the former head of An Taisce, who is the owner and occupier of No 6 Ormond Quay Upper, Dublin, which is a protected structure under the National Monuments Acts, in a planning injunction and associated nuisance claim.
  • Defending developer Kitara in class action proceedings relating to allegations of pyritic heave in a large residential complex in Dublin.


Formerly McDowell Purcell, Fieldfisher's planning and environment practice is praised for its 'strong client focus', and is predominantly acts for semi-state entities and governmental clients. Key recent matters the team has been involved in include defending An Bord Pleanála in a judicial review challenging the permission granted for a LNG terminal, and acting for the Environmental Protection Agency in the prosecution of Dulux Paints regarding a breach of an industrial emissions licence. The team is jointly led by Zoe Richardson and JP McDowell. Alan Doyle departed to become a barrister.

Practice head(s):

JP McDowell; Zoe Richardson


‘The practice has a strong client focus and works hard to establish a rapport and develop an understanding of client needs’. 


Key clients

An Bord Pleanála

Environmental Protection Agency

Office of Planning Regulator

Work highlights

  • Defending An Bord Pleanála in a judicial review challenging the permission granted for an LNG terminal.
  • Defended An Bord Pleanála in a judicial review challenging the permission granted for an incinerator in Cork Harbour.
  • Defending the Environmental Protection Agency in a judicial review challenging the granting of a technical amendment to Irish water in relation to a waste water licence for a new waste water treatment plant in Youghal.

Eugene F. Collins

The planning and environment department at Eugene F. Collins is led by the 'measured, focused and insightful' Margaret AustinThe team is actively involved in litigation, health and safety matters and environmental due diligence relating to M&A across the medical, technology and food and drink industries. Siobhan Kenny recently joined the practice.

Practice head(s):

Margaret Austin


‘The team is insightful, pro-active and efficient’.

‘Margaret Austin is measured, focused and insightful’.

Ronan Daly Jermyn

Ronan Daly Jermyn leverages its national network of offices on planning and environment law mandates; it is the only specialist environmental law team with offices in Dublin, Cork and Galway. The firm acts for clients on a range of issues including advising on compliance matters relating to planning obligations, handling large-scale planning applications and assisting with environmental due diligence. Finola McCarthy leads the team and is based in the Cork office.

Practice head(s):

Finola McCarthy

Key clients

Bon Secours Health System

Cork City Council

Dunnes Stores

John Cleary Developments

O’Callaghan Properties


Irish Oxygen Limited


Byrne Looby

Astra Construction

BAM Construction

Philip Hotel Group

Blarney Castle Estate

Work highlights

  • Advised Marlet Property Group on a range of property and planning matters relating to its intended large-scale residential development.
  • Advised Carbery Group on the production and use of biofuels under the requirements of the EU Renewable Energy Directive.
  • Acted for Oracle Property Development in High Court proceedings relating to the five-star Castlemartyr Hotel and Resort.