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About

‘To advance environmental justice for a peaceful society, a healthier democracy, the rights of nature and a sustainable economy.’

The Environmental Justice Network Ireland (EJNI) is a community of practice connecting interdisciplinary academic researchers, NGOs, regulatory staff, environmental lawyers, representatives from industry and government with community activists and the ‘barefoot lawyers and planners’ who have emerged over the last decade on the island of Ireland in response to serious environmental governance failures. EJNI’s aim is to support communities and individuals that are engaged in both promoting environmental justice and challenging environmental injustice through enhancing knowledge about complex environmental and legal issues that exist on the island of Ireland. 

Steering Group

Dr Ciara Brennan

Director & Academic Lead

Dr Ciara Brennan is a lecturer in environmental law and regulation at Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University. She is a transdisciplinary researcher specialising in the enforcement of environmental law, environmental justice, systems of environmental governance and environmental politics. She has a particular interest in environmental governance in post-conflict societies and has published widely on environmental governance challenges in Northern Ireland. She is committed to enhancing the quality of environmental justice delivered on the island of Ireland.

Ciara’s role in EJNI is to promote and build collaborations between academic and non-academic stakeholders, manage the website, oversee production of resources, develop research proposals and organise EJNI workshops. During 2020/21 Ciara will be developing the work of EJNI while on a Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Sabbatical based at Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland.

Dr Ciara Brennan, Director & Academic Lead

Dean Blackwood

Activism Lead

Dean Blackwood is a chartered town planner who retired in 2013 after thirty-four years working in the public sector. He is a director and the Chairperson of the River Faughan Anglers Ltd., a cross-community, not-for-profit and voluntary-run organisation managing the fishing rights on the River Faughan. In highlighting failing environmental governance on this designated European site, Dean’s activism has saw him raise the plight of the Faughan before national and international fora, including the High Court, European Commission and the United Nations. He is committed to giving his river a voice.

Dean’s role in EJNI is to help connect local activists with other stakeholders, identify emerging areas of environmental concern; advise on the development of useful resources for community activists and develop ideas for research collaborations.

Activism Lead

Dr Peter Doran

Politics & Media Lead

Dr Peter Doran is a lecturer in law and sustainable development at the School of Law, Queens University Belfast. His most recent publication is the book, A Political Economy of Attention: Reclaiming the Mindful Commons (Routledge 2018). He is also a senior editor/writer for the International Institute for Sustainable Development at United Nations conferences on the environment and development. He has worked on environmental policy and campaigns in both government and NGO settings for over thirty years. Together with John Woods and the Carnegie Trust, he convened a roundtable on wellbeing and the programme for government in Northern Ireland and has worked with Zero Waste North West on the adoption of a circular economy strategy by Derry and Strabane District Council. Peter’s role in EJNI is to liaise with local government and the media, provide advice on political developments, develop research proposals and potential collaborations and advise on the production of resources.

Politics & Media Lead

James Orr

NGO & Strategic Vision Lead

James Orr has an academic background in law, town planning and leadership. He is the Director of Friends of the Earth in Northern Ireland. In his previous career he worked in local government and was also for many years the Northern Ireland Director for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. His current areas of interest are the dynamics of movement building and supporting communities who are suffering from environmental injustice. An emerging area of professional and personal interest is challenging the current legal basis of environmental protection and affording Nature its own inalienable Rights to evolve, flourish and regenerate.

James’ role in EJNI is to develop EJNI’s strategic vision, advise on collaborations with NGOs and event organisation.

NGO & Strategic Vision Lead

Alison Hough

Access to Justice Lead

Alison Hough BL worked a legal researcher, then practiced as a barrister for 8 years, before becoming a law lecturer with Athlone IT. While lecturing Environmental, Health and Safety Law, Contract Law, Constitutional Law, Equity, and Land Law. Alison has a track record of peer reviewed publications in environmental law journals on the topic of the Aarhus Convention, and on Brexit. She is An Taisce’s Representative on ELIG Bureau (a governmental advisory body examining environmental law implementation in Ireland), and volunteers with a variety of local organisations including AIT FLAC, Westmeath Climate Action Network (WECAN), and New Horizon Refugee Advice and Support.  Alison is interested in pursuing collaborative projects in the area of cross-border public participation, and cross-border environmental governance.

For a full list of publications see here.

Access to Justice Lead

Dr Andrew Jackson

Climate, Law and Governance Lead

Assistant Professor of Environmental and Planning Law at University College Dublin; public interest lawyer with practice experience in England and Ireland.

Assistant Professor of Environmental and Planning Law at University College Dublin; public interest lawyer with practice experience in England and Ireland. Andrew Jackson, Conserving Europe's Wildlife: Law and Policy of the Natura 2000 Network of Protected Areas (Routledge, 2018). A book on the history and development of EU nature conservation law: Details here.

Journal article on water charging in Ireland: Andrew Jackson, Environmental governance challenges in post-Brexit Europe: the case of water charging in Ireland (2016) Australian Environment Review 31(6): 202-209.

Journal article on the protection of important nature sites that have been proposed for protection to the European Commission but not yet designated: Andrew Jackson, Bund Naturschutz in Bayern revisited: The required standard of protection under the EU's habitats directive prior to a site's adoption as a site of community importance (2014) Journal of Environmental Law 26(3): 495-506.

Journal article on conflicts between renewable energy projects and EU protected areas: Andrew Jackson, Renewable energy vs. biodiversity: Policy conflicts and the future of nature conservation (2011) Global Environmental Change 21(4): 1195-1208.

More information on Andrew’s current research is available here.

Climate, Law and Governance Lead