Planning and environment in Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody is particularly adept at handling the planning and environmental aspects of significant energy and infrastructure projects. Former partner and now consultant Alison Fanagan is acting for the owner of a wind farm in High Court proceedings brought by local residents relating to noise pollution. ‘Trusted adviserAlan Roberts advised Korean company SK biotek on the environmental aspects of its acquisition of a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, and is representing Element Power Ireland in three related judicial review proceedings pertaining to planning permissions for wind farms. Jason Milne made partner in May 2018.

Arthur Cox

Clients value Arthur Cox for ‘the resources available to the firm in terms of expertise and knowledge of this subject’. Practice head Deborah Spence successfully defended the company operating Dublin Airport in judicial review and planning injunction proceedings relating to the development of a second runway and maintenance works in relation to the current runaway. Yvonne Scannell and Danielle Conaghan defended the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in judicial review proceedings concerning the final consent for the operation of the Corrib gas pipeline.

Mason Hayes & Curran

The team at Mason Hayes & Curran provides comprehensive advice to state bodies, banks, developers, contractors and engineers on planning and environmental matters, but is particularly praised for its ‘unique experience in the power utility infrastructure area’. The ‘inherently practical and pragmaticDeirdre Nagle was recently promoted to practice head; she demonstrated her ‘immense practical experience in, and technical knowledge of, all aspects of environmental law’ when she was successful for an electricity provider in High Court judicial review proceedings relating to the granting of planning permission for the North-South electricity interconnector. Eoin Cassidy also acted in a number of judicial review proceedings relating to wind farms.


Matheson ‘offers excellent advice and insight into the legal aspects of foreshore planning and environmental assessment in both the Irish and EU context’. Practice head Nicola Dunleavy embodies ‘calmness and understanding’ and her ‘knowledge is excellent’; she handled numerous judicial review proceedings relating to planning permissions, including successfully defending a develper in planning permission proceedings relating to Knocknamona wind farm. In addition to acting for major clients in the technology sector in relation to data centres, the team also advised on the environmental and planning due diligence aspects of several high-profile transactions. Other key team member Maria Kennedy made partner.

McCann FitzGerald

As ‘one of the leading firms of solicitors in Ireland’, McCann FitzGerald has put together a ‘properly dedicated’ and ‘very strong team in the planning and environment area with extensive experience, including in relation to many major infrastructure projects’. The team was significantly strengthened by the arrival of the ‘exceptionalBrendan Slattery  from Barry Doyle & Co Solicitors, whose ‘knowledge of planning and environmental law is second to none’. He replaced Elva Carbery, who is now at EirGrid, as practice head. Slattery’s instructions included the first challenge to a vacant site levy decision. A ‘leading specialist in Irish and European planning law’, Michelle Doyle is also a highly experienced in this area.

Philip Lee

Philip Lee is advising a variety of big players on planning and environmental issues. Particular highlights included Alice Whittaker, ‘who is fantastic to deal with’, advising Microsoft on the planning and environmental aspects of its novel public-private partnership with GE. Whittaker and Rachel Minch have represented An Bord Pleanála, the Irish planning board, in over 80 judicial review proceedings. The team also acts for a number of local authorities, including providing planning advice to Westmeath County Council regarding a significant housing development.

William Fry

Conor Linehan heads the planning and environment practice at William Fry, which advises a mix of domestic and international clients on pollution control licensing, habitat and protected area controls, environmental impact assessments and contaminated land issues. Linehan's recent work highlights include advising Amazon on all the environmental and green energy issues in respect of a new data centre in North Dublin, and assisting Value Retail with the planning and environmental permissions for a development project in County Kildare. Liam McCabe and Jarleth Heneghan are the other key contacts.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland handles a good mix of contentious and non-contentious planning and environment work. Litigator Stephen Barry defended Spencer Place Development in relation to the alleged disposal of hazardous waste at a waste facility owned by the plaintiff. He is also acting in planning injunction proceedings for the owner of a protected structure who fears that his historic property will be damaged as a result of the redevelopment of an adjacent hotel, which is allegedly not compliant with planning permission.

Barry Doyle & Co Solicitors

Following the merger of the two firms in November 2018, Barry Doyle & Co Solicitors’ former managing partner Alan Doyle leads the department at McDowell Purcell, which provides practical and strategic advice on the full gambit of planning and environmental law. The team is particularly adept at defending public bodies in judicial review proceedings concerning planning decisions, development plans and emissions licences. Maeve Larkin is the other name to note.

Byrne Wallace

At Byrne WallaceValerie Hourigan handles the firm’s contentious planning and environmental matters, especially judicial reviews and cases relating to unauthorised use and development in contravention of planning permission, as well as waste management issues for local authorities. Her recent caseload included acting for Curve Devco, as notice party, in judicial review proceedings relating to a decision of the Irish planning board to grant planning permission. Michael Walsh leads the department.

Eugene F. Collins

At Eugene F. Collins, practice head Margaret Austin's ‘ability to combine strategic advice on the big picture issues with attention to detail on finer technical points’ makes her a ‘standout lawyer, with exceptional expertise in construction, planning and environmental law’. Austin was very active in the contentious area; work highlights included defending clients against alleged environmental licence breaches and advising on enforcement notices relating to illegal waste disposal and planning breaches.

Ronan Daly Jermyn

Ronan Daly Jermyn's broad practice covers assisting clients with large-scale planning applications and environmental due diligence, as well as advising on the prosecution and defence of planning and environmental enforcement matters. Practice head Finola McCarthy and newly promoted partner Ricky Kelly acted for Screebe Estate in a judicial review concerning retention planning permission and breaches of planning legislation relating to properties within a Natura 2000 site. Ronan Geary advised daa on the initiation of injunctive proceedings regarding unauthorised car parks near Cork Airport.