Planning and environment in Ireland

A&L Goodbody LLP

A&L Goodbody LLP advises the developers of some of Ireland's largest projects on planning and environmental issues, including handling judicial review proceedings. The practice advises state bodies both on the development of projects and on their legislative duties as regulators, as well as acting for clients in the private sector. The practice is led by Alan Roberts and Alison Fanagan, who is 'outstanding in this field'. Jason Milne is also a specialist in this area and is able to draw on his previous experience as an environmental consultant.

Practice head(s):

Alan Roberts; Alison Fanagan

Other key lawyers:

Jason Milne; Brendan Curran; Chris Stynes; Kristen Read


‘An excellent team. They are our primary trusted advisor in the complex and extremely busy Environmental and Planning area. Alison Fanagan is the preeminent business advisor in this field.’

‘Alison Fanagan is outstanding in this field, in my opinion head and shoulders above all others in Ireland. She takes a very proactive approach, pragmatic and business focused. She gets personally involved and will always take ownership of and responsibility for issues so nothing falls between the cracks. Her response times are fantastic, she is always accessible and always meets agreed deadlines. In short, I have no hesitation recommending her as the best practitioner in this field. Chris Stynes and Brendan Curran are also excellent understudies who are diligent, responsible and capable. ’

‘A&L Goodbody are a very open company to work with. Their team is very approachable and willing to engage in open discussion about project issues including challenging the project team where necessary. This collaborative approach has enabled A&LG to become part of our project team where we can debate issues and come to a common agreement on the best approach to resolve matters that can be complex. ’

‘Alison Fanagan has deep experience and a high degree of expertise in planning and environmental law in Ireland. Her knowledge, gained from experience, of the pitfalls of the Irish planning system is second to none and has helped us to develop a robust strategy to prepare our project for a planning consent application that should stand up to scrutiny by both the consent authorities and other stakeholders. Kristen Read has an excellent understanding of the EIA process and in particular with the requirements for the preparation of an offshore EIA. This has been particularly beneficial to us, due to the small number of offshore projects that have been consented in Ireland.’

‘We deal with Alan Roberts of the Planning and Environmental team. Alan is a professional, pleasant and enthusiastic person to deal with. He displays an interest in our business on par with members of our own team and his knowledge of the law in this area and ability to identify key issues has been a great resource over the past few months. Alan and his team quickly integrated into our project and have been impressive in their ability to guide us through a vast and complex area of the law. ’

‘We have been impressed by Alan Roberts and Brendan Curran and the enthusiasm with which members of this team approached our project and integrated into our wider project team. They are very solutions-focused and there is a real sense of partnership in the approach taken, even when they are challenging proposed approaches.’

Key clients

Airbnb Ireland ULC

Aircraft Noise Competent Authority (Fingal County Council)

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c.

Asper Investment Management Limited/Luricawne

Ballycumber Wind Farm

Blackrock Investment Management (UK) Ltd

Brookfield Renewable Ireland Holdings Limited

Chartered Land Ltd

Doyle Shipping Group

DWS/Deutsche Asset Management

Engie Renewables Ltd

Enva Ireland Limited


Glenveagh Properties PLC

Green Energy Supply ltd

Greencoat Capital LLP

Greystone Managed Investments inc

Irish Distillers Limited

Irish Water

Kennedy Wilson Europe Limited

Lagan Asphalt Ltd

Marlet Property Group

Nord L/B

Ronan Group Real Estate

RPS Group

Statkraft Ireland Limited

Tesco Ireland

Transport Infrastructure Ireland


Work highlights

  • Advising Transport Infrastructure Ireland on Metrolink, a metro railway project that will run for 19km with a total of 16 stations (10 of which are underground) linking key destinations including Dublin Airport and the city centre, with a total projected cost of €3.5bn. Assisting TII on its application for a Railway Order from An Bord Pleanála (the Irish Planning Appeals Board) and all related public law, planning, environmental, health & safety and compulsory purchase matters.
  • Advising Irish Water on the GDD project, which comprises a new 500,000 population equivalent waste water treatment plant, pumping station, orbital sewer, outfall tunnel and Regional Biosolids Storage Facility; this has included acting for the client in judicial review proceedings were instituted by an objector to the project.
  • Acting for Oriel Windfarm Limited (Oriel) on the development of the proposed 330MW Oriel offshore windfarm.

Arthur Cox

Arthur Cox's planning and environment practice acts for public and private sector clients on planning and environmental issues surrounding complex, large-scale projects. In addition to advising on compliance with environmental regulations, the firm guides clients through the planning process, representing them in challenges to refusals of planning permission as well as defending against judicial review proceedings brought by other parties. Deborah Spence leads the practice, specialising in litigation. Danielle Conaghan has an 'unparalleled knowledge of planning law', and Yvonne Scannell and senior associate Laura Rafferty are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Deborah Spence

Other key lawyers:

Danielle Conaghan; Yvonne Scannell; Laura Rafferty; Jacinta Conway; Jeanie Kelly


‘I believe the practice is unique in that it has expertise in, and is capable of providing high quality advice across a wide range of key specialisms. Other firms are strong in certain areas, but Arthur Cox has the full range of capabilities. ’

‘I have worked recently with Danielle Conaghan and also her Associate colleague Laura Rafferty. I have found them both to be pragmatic problem solvers, rather than solely legal advisors. Danielle is a skilled strategist who has the ability to offer proactive advice leading to solutions and tactics to avoid problems. Danielle will go the extra mile to deliver for a client. ’

‘The team have a very impressive depth of knowledge covering all topics presented to them over a wide range of issues. Clear & concise advice is presented on a timely basis, leading to a very low requirement on follow up questions. A very personable manner in communicating. Each member of the team represents each other and their firm in a very professional and courteous manner.’

‘At this stage, top notch quality of advice is a given and there is no other firm where the depth of knowledge on a wide array of topics is as evident. Each member of the team is prepared to put in extraordinary effort and time to deal with issues when they need to be dealt with as opposed to when they might get to it. Qualities include excellent communication skills, professionalism, courteous, generous with their time, protective of their client, tenacity & perseverance. Meetings include a bit of fun and aren’t a chore. Specific mention goes to Deborah Spence, a great leader of her team, Danielle Conaghan, Jacinta Conway, Jeanie Kelly and Laura Rafferty.’

‘Allied to their ongoing knowledge of the subject matter they are quickly able to apply recent case law judgments to the ongoing issues they are advising us on. They are able to see the problem at both a micro and macro level and possess a well developed industry overview.’

‘Danielle Conaghan is our lead partner in this area and is very proactive in guiding her advice on the most up-to-date case law. She is measured, knowledgeable and conveys viewpoints with both authority and conviction. ’

‘Associate Jacinta Conway has provided considerable assistance to our firm in the past 12 months. Jacinta’s knowledge and diligence are greatly appreciated, as has been her ready availability to discuss complex planning law issues and distill them down. Jacinta has regularly provided our firm with practical, commercially pragmatic advice that is valued across our wider group company.’

‘Our primary contacts would be Deborah Spence, Jacinta Conway and Laura Rafferty and the fact that we can move seamlessly between all these people on many different topics underscores their strength in depth but also the knowledge each of the individuals have of our business and sensitivities. In particular Deborah Spence as the team lead is a very inclusive and supportive leader with what would be described as unrivalled experience and connectivity. Deborah also has a very strong ability to constructively and seamlessly engage with and understand a client, be very supportive but also be practical and straight in the advice given. Deborah’s availability and that of Jacinta and Laura is exceptional including even when Deborah is off, on holidays etc. Her drive to provide timely and concise support is also a trait that for us sets Deborah and this team apart from others. ’

Key clients

Ballynagran Landfill Limited

Coillte TeorantaCovanta / Dublin Waste to Energy



Energia Renewables


Highfield Solar Limited

Intel Ireland Ltd

Irish Cement Limited

Irish Water

Kilsaran International / Kilsaran Concrete Unlimited Company

Knockharley Landfill Limited

Malone O’Regan Limited

Marlet Property Group Limited (and subsidiaries)

Office of Public Works

Westland Horticulture Limited, Cavan Peat Limited and Westmeath Peat Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Coillte Teoranta on its proposed 95MWh Biomass CHP project at its Medite Smartply Facility.
  • Advising Intel Ireland on its $8bn campus expansion in Ireland.
  • Acted for Highfield in successfully defending a judicial review challenge to its Ballinclea 30MW solar farm.

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP stands out for its work in the wind energy sector, advising a range of clients on planning and environmental issues surrounding onshore and offshore wind projects. The team also advises on projects in the power, water, and transportation sectors, acting as the main advisers to a number of state bodies as well as representing developers and contractors. Deirdre Nagle leads the team, handling both contentious and non-contentious work. Senior associate Eoin Brady provides additional support.

Practice head(s):

Deirdre Nagle

Other key lawyers:

Eoin Brady


‘Deirdre Nagle’s experience in major infrastructure planning applications accumulated over the years from advising EirGrid as in-house solicitor gives her the advantage of having acted on major projects both as a client adviser and as an external adviser.’

‘Deirdre Nagle is an exceptional planning and environmental lawyer with massive experience in large and complex projects.’

‘Highly responsive and adaptable resources. The MHC team have an in depth knowledge of the Irish legal/planning system and associated processes and best practice around environmental assessment etc. and mitigation of legal risks.’

‘Even though my company is one of many clients of MHC I have always felt prioritized and that relevant partners and associates are available at short notice when urgent matters arise. Eoin Brady in particular has provided some excellent service with regard to legal queries around the consenting process associated with a significant transboundary project.’

‘We get an exceptional service from the team on the legal reviews for our wind farm EIA documents. Thorough examination with solid and practical advice.’

‘Deirdre Nagle has given us the best of support from day one. As mentioned previously she thoroughly reviews the documents and comes up with solutions or practical advice on the approach to difficult parts of the EIAR which helps bring our EIAR consultants along rather than giving them a list of comments without the background information. She has made herself available for calls with our consultants where needed and this is extremely helpful.’

‘This is a pragmatic practice and their approach is to deliver the entire project and see it through for the agreed fee. They are incredibly helpful and have helped our team learn the intricacies of the law as it applies to our business. ’

‘Deirdre Nagle is an amazing lawyer, formerly in house with great experience, super with clients and understands complexity of environmental issues and drives cost efficient and streamlined approaches. Eoin Brady is a great lawyer with great work ethic and deals effectively with lawyers across the business. He is a very well regarded former in house lawyer.’

Key clients



Brookfield Renewable

RWE Renewable/Innogy

PJ Hegartys


Irish Water


NTR plc


Pioneer Point Partners

Work highlights

  • Advising SSE on phase two of the offshore wind farm Arklow Bank.
  • Acting for EirGrid plc, the developer of the Celtic Interconnector between Ireland and France, on environmental and planning aspects of the planned interconnector in Ireland.
  • Acting for Innogy Renewables in judicial review proceedings concerning its proposed 17 turbine Lyrenacarriga windfarm on the Cork and Waterford border.


Matheson's planning and environment practice is active in sectors including energy, residential property, manufacturing, and the growing area of data centres. In addition to advising on planning applications, including handling judicial review proceedings, the team also acts in defence of clients against prosecutions brought by the Environmental Protection Agency. Nicola Dunleavy leads the practice, which also includes Maria Kennedy and senior associate Ruadhán Kenny.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Dunleavy

Other key lawyers:

Maria Kennedy; Ruadhán Kenny; Anita Murphy


‘The Matheson Planning & Environmental team in representing our company has provided exemplary assistance in leading a complex and protracted judicial review challenge. This included clear solution focused advice reflective of the factual circumstances at hand. ’

‘Nicola Dunleavy has assisted our company over an extended period of time and can be relied upon to always provide practical and forthright advice notwithstanding the difficult nature of matters requiring attention. Anita Murphy and Ruadhan Kenny have also provided assistance in a timely and helpful manner and have remained at our disposal throughout the judicial review proceedings. ’

‘They have worked on our business’ legislative issues for many years hence there is a good understanding and history. Their lead on environmental matters has been there for much of this time and hence there is a good stable understanding.’

‘Matheson offer a very competent team, with excellent client engagement and timely updates on progress.’

‘Highly professional and focused on client outcomes.’

McCann FitzGerald

McCann FitzGerald advises on a varied range of projects, including residential property, energy and transportation developments. The team represents clients in the planning process, including seeking planning permission and challenging decisions through judicial review, and also advises on compliance with environmental regulations. Practice head Brendan Slattery acts for a client base spanning developers, investors and public bodies. Michelle Doyle has experience of both judicial review proceedings and non-contentious environmental matters. Associate Sinead Martyn specialises in environmental law; in addition to assisting clients with the environmental aspects of planning applications, she frequently provides workshops and lectures on this area of law.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Slattery

Other key lawyers:

Michelle Doyle; Sinead Martyn


‘Pragmatic, sharp advice. Overall strategic advice is thoughtful, commercial and pragmatic.’

‘Brendan Slattery provides sharp strategic advice. Always able to give clear advice even where there is complexity in the situation (i.e. willing to take a view).’

‘Works diligently and tirelessly to achieve the best results for clients. ’

‘In the area of general planning, I worked with Michelle Doyle. She has a superb ability to develop optimal strategies, and the determination and capability to successfully follow through to ultimate delivery of the desired outcomes. Brendan Slattery similarly provided excellent advice across a number of planning issues, with superb insight into the key issues underlying the relevant matters.’

‘In-depth knowledge of both the planning process and environmental regulations within the same team/individuals. Ability to clearly explain the ramifications of different strategies and approaches when compared versus these regulations.’

‘Excellent knowledge and, as important, the ability to impart and explain that knowledge to non-SMEs. Excellence in defining the requirements for the particular case being addressed.’

Key clients

Bord na Móna plc

Kildare County Council

Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Roche Ireland Ltd

Galway County Council

daa plc

National Transport Authority

PSE Kinsale Energy

Irish Water


Bartra Capital


Saorgus Energy

New Fortress Energy

Apollo Global Management

Greenlink Interconnector



Ardstone Homes

Westridge Real Estate

Office of Public Works

Work highlights

  • Acted for Ardstone Homes on a range of matters, including in a high-profile defence of an SHD consent in Clane. Strategic pre-application advice also provided on a range of other developments across Dublin including sites at Cloghan and Dun Laoghaire.
  • Advising Galway County Council on its application to develop the N6 Galway City Ring Road.
  • Advising Greenlink on its application to develop a 500MW electricity transmission line between Ireland and Wales.

Philip Lee

Philip Lee acts in planning and environmental matters for public sector bodies and the private sector. The team frequently represents An Bord Pleanála, the Irish planning appeals board, in judicial reviews of its decisions, and also acts for environment regulators. The group is heavily involved in work involving offshore wind, advising companies on offshore wind farms and also acting for state agencies in this sector. The practice is led by Alice Whittaker and Rachel Minch.

Practice head(s):

Alice Whittaker; Rachel Minch

Key clients

An Bord Pleanála

Aqua Comms

RWERenewables Ireland Limited

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

The Collective

Commissioner for Environmental Information

Jabil Inc.

Dublin City Council

The Marine Institute


Microsoft Corporation

Colas Group

Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board

Work highlights

  • Acting as lead legal advisers to An Bord Pleanála, the Irish Planning Appeals Board.
  • Acting as sole legal advisors to the Commissioner and associated Offices (including the Office of the Information Commissioner) since 2014, representing the Commissioner in landmark cases concerning the operation of the access to environmental regime including hearings before the Court of Appeal and the Court of Justice of the European Union
  • Acting for RWE Renewables Limited, formerly Innogy Renewables, on the Dublin Array 1GW offshore wind project which is in development.

William Fry

William Fry's team has 'a deep understanding of all planning and environmental legal matters'. The team acts for property developers on the planning aspects of large-scale, high-value projects. It also advises on projects in both traditional heavy industries and newer sectors such as wind energy and data centres, handling the planning process as well as environmental regulation. Practice head Conor Linehan is an expert in the space and senior associate Michelle Martin is another key figure.

Practice head(s):

Conor Linehan

Other key lawyers:

Michelle Martin


‘They have a deep understanding of all planning and environmental legal matters. They are very attentive to the issue at hand and keep you informed during all parts of engagement.’

‘Their attention to detail and relentless pursuit of solutions to complex matters sets them apart from their competitors.’

‘Great knowledge of environmental aspects.’

‘My previous experience with law firms is that they always focus on the worst case scenario. William Fry on the other hand whilst informing us of the worst case scenario was very much focused on delivering a more positive outcome. Michelle Martin at William Fry did a great job in representing and advising our company.’

Key clients

Green Biofuels Ireland Ltd


Fingal County Council

Aughinish Alumina

Brookfield Renewable Energy


Hines / King Street Capital

Tesco Ireland Limited

Biocore Environmental Limited

Poundland Limited t/a Dealz

Digital Realty Trust

Dulux Paints Ireland

U+I Group plc

Value Retail

XL Group / QBE

Eversheds Sutherland

Led by litigator Stephen Barry, Mark Varian, and Cian MacGinley, Eversheds Sutherland's practice frequently acts for clients in planning and environmental litigation. The team's work includes matters with complex aspects, such as properties scheduled under the National Monuments Act.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Barry; Mark Varian; Cian MacGinley


‘They have a very practical approach to difficult and complex legal issues. Great knowledge of the planning and environmental regime.’

‘Stephen Barry is pragmatic, approachable and practical. He has a clear and deep understanding of the planning and environmental regime. Stephen stands out for his knowledge of the Irish planning and environmental regime whilst adapting a commercial outlook.

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


Nokia/ Alcatel-Lucent Ireland Limited

Lackan Wind Energy Limited

Cara Environmental Technology Limited

ADT Fire & Security Limited

Kitara Limited

Ashbourne meats

Ronan Group Real Estate

Ballynagran Landfill Limited

Knockharley Landfill Limited


National Development Finance Agency

Rilta Group

Edwards Life Sciences

Black Lough Wind Farm Limited

Enros Wind Farm Limited

The Beauparc Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for Michael Rouse and Three Trees Wind Farm and Enros Wind Farm in High Court Proceedings that issued against a Mr Joe McGonigle and his son as a result of high-profile acts of trespass, nuisance and interference with land in County Donegal.
  • Represented Spencer Place Development Company in an appeal against a decision of the High Court related to a challenge to the legal interpretation contained in the Briefing Note on City Development Plan and Height Guidelines prepared by Dublin City Council.


Led by JP McDowell and Zoe Richardson, Fieldfisher is known for its work for state and semi-state clients. The team frequently acts for An Bord Pleanála in judicial review proceedings involving planning decisions, as well as handling enforcement for the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to contentious work, the team also advises on the implications of statutory changes.

Practice head(s):

JP McDowell; Zoe Richardson


‘The Fieldfisher team provides an excellent depth of knowledge and advice in this particular specialised area of law. ’

‘The individuals we work with are always available and respond as appropriate, often at short notice. The individuals we work with are knowledgeable and provide an excellent service.’

Key clients

An Bord Pleanála

Environmental Protection Agency

Office of Planning Regulator

Inland Fisheries Ireland

Work highlights

  • Acted for ABP in a leading Irish Supreme Court case, Balz v ABP & Anor, concerning the obligation to give reasons in decision making.
  • Acted for EPA in EPA v Irish Water a successful prosecution of Irish Water in Dublin Metropolitan District in respect of breaches of a wastewater discharge licence held in relation to the Malahide agglomeration.
  • Acted for ABP in a recent Irish Supreme Court case, An Taisce v ABP & Anor, in which the legislation providing for substitute consent was found to be inconsistent with EU law.

Eugene F. Collins

The team at Eugene F. Collins handles a range of planning and environmental work. On the planning side, the firm advises both applicants for planning permission and clients objecting to developments. Its environmental expertise includes representing clients in defending against prosecutions brought by environmental regulators. Margaret Austin heads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Margaret Austin


‘The team are efficient, prompt and professional. It is these traits which set them apart.’

‘Margaret Austin has demonstrated a superb ability at managing complex cases involving the client and a large number of experts from varying professions, thereby ensuring that the case is well presented and achieving results which meet with, or exceed, the client’s expectations.’

‘Margaret Austin is very approachable, dedicated and competent. She will proactively stick to the task and coordinate an all encompassing solution.’

‘EFC very much understand the meaning of teamwork. They are excellent at canvasing all voices in the client’s advisory team and assessing and identifying the key issues. They are very good critical thinkers and are able to distil core issues quickly and accurately.’

‘The EFC staff listen better. They want to understand all of the issues no matter how complex and they do this in a very courteous, efficient manner.’

Ronan Daly Jermyn

Ronan Daly Jermyn's 'efficient' planning and environment practice handles both contentious and non-contentious matters in this area. The team is particularly active in advising clients in the hospitality sector. Finola McCarthy heads the practice, which frequently acts alongside the firm's construction and dispute resolution departments.

Practice head(s):

Finola McCarthy


‘A very competent and efficient company.’

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

Trigon Hotel Group

Blarney Castle Estate

daa plc (Dublin & Cork Airports)

Work highlights

  • Advising Marlet Property Group on a range of property and planning matters in support of the client’s intended large-scale residential development.
  • Advised Hovione on the environment protection agency’s financial provision requirements relating to the client’s industrial emission licence.
  • Acting for the developer of the five star Castlemartyr Hotel & Resort in Co. Cork in High Court proceedings.