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Philip Lee has an established marine practice, unique in the Irish legal services market.

We have been responsible for delivering some of the most ambitious construction and infrastructure projects in the marine environment in Ireland including:

  • East-West Electricity Interconnector
  • Port of Cork redevelopment at Ringaskiddy
  • America Europe Connect subsea fibre optic cable between US-Ireland
  • Greystones Harbour and Marina PPP
  • Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Securing foreshore consent for a floating data centre on behalf of Nautilus Data Technologies
quotes Really commercial, agile and pragmatic. Legal 500, 2020


Our marine projects practice group is advising on the following significant mandates:

  • Acting for RWE Renewables on the Dublin Array offshore wind project
  • Appointed as lead legal advisors to the Aquaculture Licenses Appeals Board
  • Advising Aqua Comms on the financing, consenting and delivery of subsea fibre optic cable projects between US-Ireland-UK-Europe, including the Havfrue and Havhingsten cable systems
  • Lead adviser to the Marine Institute and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) on the consenting and procurement of the SmartBay marine energy quarter scale device test site in Galway Bay
  • Lead adviser to SEAI on the consenting and procurement of the AFLOWT floating offshore wind farm test project at the AMETS marine energy test site at Belmullet, Co Mayo
  • Appointed lead legal advisers to Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Bord Bia, advising on a wide range of operational matters including procurement of services and goods for these bodies responsible for the marketing and promotion of Irish food and seafood
  • Advising on the financing and procurement of a new state-of-the-art marine research vessel on behalf of the Marine Institute


Our experience advising on coastal and marine projects and matters goes back many years:

  • Advising the Commissioners for Irish Lights on their unique governance and funding structures under old English legislative provisions
  • Advising on certain regulatory aspects of the Arklow Bank offshore wind farm
  • Advising Mainstream Renewable Power on the proposed ‘Energy Bridge’ project to export renewable energy from Ireland to the UK
  • Advising and making consultation submissions on behalf of the Irish Offshore Operator’s Association on the general scheme of the Maritime Area and Foreshore Act, which has since been replaced by the Marine Planning and Development Management bill
  • Advising and making consultation submissions on behalf of the National Offshore Wind Association (NOW Ireland) on the draft Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP)
  • Advising Shannon Foynes Port Company on the regularisation of port-owned and occupied lands, dealing with wrecks, consents for certain activities and works under the Foreshore Acts, and matters relating to pilotage and employment rights and obligations
  • Advising Aqua Comms on the financing and development of the CeltixConnect subsea fibre optic cable
  • Acting for Marine Institute, advising on the exercise of enforcement powers under the Fish Health Directive for aqua culture and related marine activities



  • Ports and harbours
  • Aquaculture/fish health
  • Marine research and development
  • Biodiversity, archaeology and maritime heritage
  • Marine spatial planning
  • Waste water treatment
  • Dredging and dumping at sea
  • Vessel charter and seizure
Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18677 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2020-12-21 12:33:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-12-21 12:33:33 [post_content] => As published in Renewable Energy Magazine, December 2020. Offshore wind will play a crucial role in Ireland meeting its climate targets and reaching 70 per cent renewable electricity by 2030. There are currently several challenges to be tackled to ensure the timely development of Irish offshore wind projects, one such challenge being the establishment of a policy framework for the delivery of offshore grid in line with the National Marine Planning Framework. To assist in determining the suitable grid delivery model to be adopted to facilitate the build-out of offshore wind in Ireland, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) published a Consultation to Inform a Grid Development Policy for Offshore Wind in Ireland in June 2020. The consultation paper, and the accompanying report prepared by Navigant, outlined four example grid delivery models, spanning from a fully developer-led (centralised) model to a fully plan-led (decentralised) model. These models drew on grid development approaches adopted in other jurisdictions but were tailored to the Irish context. The ultimate grid delivery model selected in Ireland may not necessarily be one of these models, but rather may comprise of elements of these models. Under the first option, the fully developer-led grid delivery model which is applied in Britain, the developer is responsible for the prerequisites to the development: consents, site selection and pre-development of the wind farm site, and upon the project’s success in the auction, the construction of the wind farm and the offshore wind farm transmission assets. Any onshore grid reinforcements are undertaken by EirGrid and ESB Networks in a reactive manner to the auction results. The second option considers an approach whereby the State defines the minimum distance to shore for the wind farm. EirGrid proactively plans and coordinates the onshore grid reinforcements and for each RESS auction, identifies the locations, capacities and timelines for the onshore connection points. The developer remains responsible for site selection and pre-development, and the consenting and construction of the offshore wind farm and transmission assets. The last two options shift responsibilities from the developer to a state body such as, or in conjunction with, EirGrid or ESB Networks. A single state body for offshore renewable energy (ORE) developments will manage the planning and the site pre-development processes. In the third model, the developer wins an auction for a pre-developed site and is then responsible for the construction, financing, operation and maintenance of both the wind farm and the offshore transmission assets. The fourth model adopts a fully plan-led approach, an approach which has been adopted in the Netherlands, with more responsibility being placed on EirGrid and ESB Networks. In addition to site pre-development, the construction, ownership, operation and maintenance of the offshore wind transmission assets are centrally planned by EirGrid and ESB Networks. Unlike the other three options where the offshore wind transmission assets are owned and operated by the developer who manages and bears the risk of outages, under this option, the developer bears the responsibility and risk of outage for a defined period, although the transmission assets are owned by ESB Networks and are operated by EirGrid. The consultation paper summarised the analysis previously carried out on the advantages and disadvantages of each model and sought responses to specific questions in relation to the options and the seven key drivers identified as impacting on the choice of model. These drivers were not weighted but many in the industry believe that the most important driver is facilitating the timely development of offshore wind capacity to achieve the 2030 targets. They argue that this will only be possible if a developer-led model is adopted, being more compatible with existing legislative and policy framework. Others believe that in the long-term, the plan-led model will facilitate more onshore-offshore transmission coordination with the potential result of less infrastructure being required. These responses will hopefully assist and inform the Government in its selection of a robust offshore grid development policy which will ultimately contribute to Ireland becoming a powerhouse for offshore wind farm development. For further information in relation to the above article, please contact Siobhan McCabe. [post_title] => Offshore grid development: Who will lead the way? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => offshore-grid-development-who-will-lead-the-way [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-01-18 16:54:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-01-18 16:54:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

As published in Renewable Energy Magazine,...

See Full Article
Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18660 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2020-12-18 00:42:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-12-18 00:42:25 [post_content] => As published in Renewable Energy Magazine, December 2020. The pre-legislative scrutiny process for the proposed Marine Planning and Development Management Bill commenced at the end of November 2020, at the same time that a revised FAQ document (version 2) was published by the Department. The publication of the Bill itself is not expected until January or February 2021. The FAQ document flags a few key changes to the General Scheme approved by Government in December 2019. Firstly, the Bill is expected to focus on offshore renewable energy projects, energy interconnectors, cables and pipelines, and subsea telecommunications cables. Other sectors and activities are expected to be incorporated at a later stage. Secondly, it is anticipated that a more streamlined approach will be taken, with a two-stage as opposed to the three-stage process identified in the General Scheme. Prospective developers will apply for a planning interest in the marine area and a draft marine area consent (equivalent, in some ways, to a foreshore lease or foreshore licence). The prospective developer would then apply for development consent. It is only on the grant of a development consent that a marine area consent would be executed as between the developer and the State. Important details, such as assessment criteria and conditions, are intended to be set out in schedules to the Act. Thirdly, a body with powers to ensure compliance with development and marine area consents must be established, with the power to initiate enforcement action if necessary. The current goal is that the new MPDM legislation will be enacted by March 2021. This is an ambitious target for new legislation required to deliver complex projects against a backdrop of new planning and environmental judgments delivered by the Irish and European Courts with increasing frequency and complexity. It is hoped that the pre-legislative scrutiny and subsequent legislative processes on the Bill will facilitate engagement by those with specialist engineering, legal, environmental, and commercial knowledge of what is required for a robust consenting regime. The General Scheme anticipated a single development consent application procedure, to avoid unnecessary duplication of decision-making procedures that exists today. This makes great sense in relation to relatively homogenous project types, such as interconnectors, cables, and pipelines.  Offshore renewable energy projects involve very different infrastructural elements in the marine and terrestrial environments, with connection to the grid solutions not always clarified until a late stage in the project development. The MPDM Bill needs to facilitate both a single application approach and a phased application approach, subject to ensuring holistic over-arching environmental impact and appropriate assessment under EU Directives. The General Scheme anticipated the extension of the consenting area to include the entire Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which extends out to the 200nm limits in certain locations. The scope of the Foreshore Acts currently only covers the area out to the 12nm limit. The legislative scheme needs to facilitate investigation of and applications for suitable areas beyond the 12nm limit, in order to encourage a pipeline of potential projects to meet Ireland’s potential in the medium to longer term. The General Scheme needs to facilitate a streamlined development consent process which recognises also the importance of consultation with interested parties, including the environmental NGO sector and the public concerned. The legislation needs to give the decision-maker clear, robust, and unambiguous powers. The Courts have increasingly signalled a willingness to engage in detail in the substance of decision-making, highlighting in numerous cases the difficulties that are created when legislation fails to clearly articulate what is required of the decision-maker, the applicant, and the public concerned. We have a unique opportunity to put in place a marine planning regime which learns from the experience of other countries with more mature sectoral experience and a robust approach to environmental conservation and sustainable development. This is particularly true when considering appropriate development guidelines, de minimis criteria for non-invasive site investigation, transparency and certainty around fees, and for ensuring that National Parks and Wildlife Service as well as the decision-making bodies are suitably resourced at appropriate levels.   For further information in relation to the above article, please contact Alice Whittaker. [post_title] => Marine planning legislation: Bill to be published in the new year [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => marine-planning-legislation-bill-to-be-published-in-the-new-year [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-01-18 16:55:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-01-18 16:55:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

As published in Renewable Energy Magazine, December 2020. The pre-legislative...

See Full Article
Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18532 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2020-11-17 23:23:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-11-17 23:23:25 [post_content] => As published in the Engineers Journal, November 13th 2020. Subsea fibre optic cables transfer 99% of transoceanic data, operating at the speed of light and on a global scale. They are the physical structures which enable international connectivity in virtually all areas of our lives, including internet access, video calls, gaming and content-streaming services, not to mention time-critical transactions, writes Alice Whittaker. Exceptional data speed and capacity The demand for these cables is ever-growing as individuals and businesses become increasingly reliant on this method of telecommunication and require exceptional data speed and capacity. Subsea cables are considered to be more reliable than satellite communication and allow for a larger capacity of data transfer with enhanced levels of security. The strategic importance of subsea cables for a country like Ireland is highlighted in the government’s public consultation on ‘International Connectivity for Telecommunications’ published on October 19, 2020. Access to international communications This consultation document, which invites responses up until November 27, 2020, endorses the value of access to international telecommunications as a “key driver in the growth of social, economic and industrial development”. Furthermore, the significance of rapid data and communication, which is facilitated by these subsea cables, has been particularly appreciated given the changes introduced to the daily routines of so many by COVID-19, including working from home, reliance on home entertainment services and virtual communications in lieu of travel and socialising in person. A report published by ComReg in April 2020 observed that 60% of broadband users had seen an increase in usage of their home broadband since the beginning of the pandemic. Microsoft reported that same month that it recorded more than 4.1 billion minutes of Microsoft Teams meetings in a single day, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reported as saying, “we’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months”. Notable contribution to Irish economy Long before the pandemic, the subsea cable industry has been making a notable contribution to the Irish economy across many sectors. The draft National Marine Planning Framework notes that subsea international networks make Ireland an attractive region for investment for the technology and digital sectors, with international firms choosing to locate in areas with access to cable landing points to avail of connectivity. The government’s Statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland’s Enterprise Strategy identifies Ireland as a location of choice for many different sectors reliant on digital and telecommunications capabilities, all of which in turn rely on subsea cable interconnectivity. Ireland’s connection with subsea cables goes back even further. The first transatlantic cable was laid between Newfoundland and Valentia Island, Co Kerry, facilitating the first transatlantic communications in 1858. While that cable connection lasted only three weeks, the subsequent investment in subsea telecommunications infrastructure accelerated international trade and transformed relations between Europe and the USA. Protect subsea cables In 1884 the Convention for the Protection of Submarine Telegraph Cables was adopted in Paris. The parties to the convention (including Ireland as part of what was then the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) agreed to adopt the laws necessary to protect subsea cables from willful or negligent damage. The convention set out requirements to be followed by those installing and operating subsea cables and those carrying out other marine activities including fishing, to try to ensure that damage would not occur to this valuable new class of critical infrastructure. Many of the convention’s legal principles were ultimately incorporated into the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) adopted in 1982. The UNCLOS put on a legal footing internationally agreed maritime jurisdictions. The territorial sea lies within the 12 nautical mile limit, the continental shelf lies within the 200 nautical mile limit (incorporating the state’s exclusive economic zone, or EEZ) and beyond that lies the High Seas. While the ‘high seas’ might evoke thoughts of piracy and lawlessness, in fact the UNCLOS granted a right for any party to lay submarine cables on the seabed of the high seas and included provisions to protect those cables from damage. The UNCLOS provided a similar right for subsea cables within each territory’s EEZ, subject any rules or regulations laid down by the territory consistent with the UNCLOS. Foreshore Act 1933 Cables within the territorial seas are subject to such regulations as each state may adopt. In Ireland, the laying and operation of cables out to the 12 nautical mile limit is subject to licence under the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended, but beyond the 12 nautical mile limit the Foreshore Act does not apply. As noted in the draft National Marine Planning Framework, a ‘robust and coherent marine and foreshore planning system is expected to encourage and support future investment in submarine telecommunications’. In that respect, a Marine Planning and Development Management Bill is in preparation which is expected to provide a new regulatory framework for developments in the marine environment, including subsea cables in the Irish territorial sea. As the general scheme of the bill acknowledges, the laying of subsea cables in the EEZ and beyond is a right protected under the UNCLOS and therefore the national rules must not conflict with the UNCLOS. The government consultation on ‘International Connectivity for Telecommunications’ also identifies that a key objective of the new legislation will be to ensure that Ireland ‘remains an attractive location for providers of international connectivity’. Ireland has proved an attractive location for Aqua Comms, a successful Irish company specialising in the building and operation of subsea fibre optic cable systems. Aqua Comms has been responsible for the successful delivery and operation of the CeltixConnect cable connecting Ireland with the UK, and the America Europe Connect cable connecting the USA and Ireland. The ‘AEC2’ cable from the USA to Denmark with a branch to Ireland is soon to be deployed, and when the branch to Ireland is operational will make this the first subsea cable connecting Ireland to mainland Europe via Denmark. Philip Lee has provided legal support to Aqua Comms since 2012 on the financing and development of its strategically significant infrastructure. With further investment by Aqua Comms and others, supported by a strong policy and legislative framework, Ireland’s reputation as a strategic telecommunications hub, first established in 1858, will continue to grow in this increasingly interconnected world.   For further information in relation to the above article, please contact Alice Whittaker. Article written with the assistance of Fiona McLoughlin. [post_title] => Connected Ireland: How subsea fibre optic cables help to drive our social, economic and industrial development [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => connected-ireland-how-subsea-fibre-optic-cables-help-to-drive-our-social-economic-and-industrial-development [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-01-18 16:55:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-01-18 16:55:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

As published in the Engineers Journal, November 13th...

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Alice Whittaker

Siobhan McCabe

Philip Lee

Jonathan Kelly

Eimear Fitzgibbon

John Given

Eoghan Doyle

Rachel Minch

John O’Donoghue

Angelyn Rowan