Anyone who makes a valid objection to a proposed decision can request an oral hearing. A request must include the €100 fee (in addition to the objection fee) and be received within the 30-day objection period. This period commences on the date of notification of the proposed decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA has absolute discretion to hold an oral hearing, whether or not a request has been made.
While there is no specific statutory criteria governing the decision to hold one, factors that would influence us include:
Can I withdraw an oral hearing request?
A request for an Oral Hearing can be withdrawn at any time prior to it being considered by the Board of the Agency.
Aspects of Licensing Procedures: Objections and Oral Hearings to find out more about oral hearings.
Oral Hearing FAQs
What is an Oral Hearing?
An Oral Hearing is a forum for all parties to an objection to orally express their objections and concerns about a Proposed Determination. It provides the applicant, objector(s) and the local authority (where relevant) the opportunity to appear in person and/or to be represented by another person.
Who gets notified of an Oral Hearing taking place & when & how?
The EPA will advise the applicant, the local authority, Irish Water (where relevant), and those who made valid objections, at least seven days in advance, of the date and venue of the Oral Hearing, unless a shorter period of notice is accepted by all parties. This will be done online via CRM or in writing for objections received by post. The Agency may, at its own discretion, issue a press release stating that an oral hearing will be held. All relevant information will be posted on the Agency’s website. To receive all notifications on the application as soon as information is posted to the website, please sign up to the RSS Feeds: Information and how to Sign up for RSS Feed
Where will the Oral Hearing be held?
The Oral Hearing will be held at a suitable venue, where possible close to the location of the licensee to facilitate the general public in attending. The EPA may decide to hold a hearing as a blended event, using both a virtual platform and a physical venue. Where at all possible a hearing will be heard in a physical venue however, where public gatherings are restricted or prohibited the EPA may decide to hold a fully remote event using a virtual platform.
Who nominates the Oral Hearing Committee?
The Board of the EPA nominate the Chair and Assistant Chair of the Oral Hearing Committee.
Who can participate in the Oral Hearing?
Any person who lodged a valid objection, as well as the applicant, the local authority and Irish Water (where relevant), have an automatic right to attend and to participate fully at an Oral Hearing. An Oral Hearing may not be delayed or cancelled on the grounds that any one or more of the parties fails to attend.
The Chairperson shall permit an objector, the applicant, an employee of the local authority or Irish Water (where relevant) to appear or be represented at the Oral Hearing, and where the Chairperson considers it necessary shall give notice requiring such person’s attendance. A notice may also require the production of specified documents for the Oral Hearing. The notice requiring the attendance of a person should not be confused with the general notification that an Oral Hearing is to take place.
Is the Oral Hearing open to the public and can a member of the public participate in the Oral Hearing?
YES - All Oral Hearings are open to the public. Members of the public can participate in the proceedings where they have lodged a valid objection. However, any other member of the public who wishes to participate in the proceedings can only do so with the approval of the Chairperson. Any such request can only be made to and considered by the Chairperson during the Oral Hearing.
What happens after the Oral Hearing?
On completion of an Oral Hearing, the Chairperson will submit a report of the Oral Hearing to the Board of the EPA. In this report, the Chairperson must make a recommendation to grant or refuse the licence. The Board of the Agency must consider the report and the recommendations made by the Chairperson before making its decision. No other documentation will be accepted/considered after the Oral Hearing.
When does the Final Determination issue?
The period for consideration of objections by the EPA, whether or not an Oral Hearing is held, is limited to four months. However, if it appears to the EPA that it would not be possible to meet this deadline because of particular circumstances related to the issues involved or to any or all of the objections, the EPA will notify all parties to the objections in writing, stating the reasons for extending the period and indicating a date by which the decision will be made as per Section 31(1) of the EPA (industrial Emissions) Licensing Regulations 2013.
Can a decision be appealed?
Any person can apply to the High Court and seek leave to apply for a judicial review of the validity of the EPA decision in relation to the licence application. In the case of an IE/IPPC licence application, the period is within eight weeks of the date on which the decision to refuse or grant the licence is made. In the case of a waste licence application, the period is two months.
Did the EPA hold an Oral Hearing previously? If so how many?
From 2000 up to December 2019 the EPA held 13 Oral Hearings. The Oral Hearing reports are available on the Agency’s website under each Licence Register. No.: