Gas Act 1976

F113[Appointment of authorised officers


40I. (1) (a) The Minister, on the recommendation of the Environmental Assessment Unit, or the Commission (without prejudice to the powers conferred on it by or under any other Act of the Oireachtas), as the case may be, may appoint such and so many persons as the Minister or the Commission, as the case may be, thinks fit to be authorised officers for the purposes of this Act.

(b) A person appointed to be an authorised officer under this section shall be objective in the performance of his or her functions under this Act.

(2) An authorised officer shall be furnished with a warrant of his or her appointment and shall, when exercising any power conferred on him or her under this Act, if requested by a person affected, provide evidence to the person of his or her appointment as an authorised officer.

(3) An appointment under this section shall cease when

(i) the Minister, on the recommendation of the Environmental Assessment Unit, or the Commission, as the case may be, revokes it,

(ii) where the person ceases to be an officer or agent of the Department or the Commission, as the case may be, or

(iii) where the appointment is for a fixed period, on the expiry of that period.

(4) An authorised officer shall, for the purposes of sections 40D to 40G have power to do any one or more of the following:

(a) subject to subsection (7), at all reasonable times enter, inspect, examine and search any place where the authorised officer has reasonable grounds for believing that any environmental condition attached to a consent in accordance with section 40B(6) has not been, or is not being, complied with and may for this purpose bring with him or her such other person, including a member of the Garda Síochána, or equipment, as he or she considers appropriate;

(b) while in or at the place referred to in paragraph (a), may inquire into, search, examine and inspect

(i) any activity, installation, process, procedure or matter at that place,

(ii) any plant or vehicle at that place, and

(iii) any records relating to any of the foregoing matters,

and may require the person in charge to

(I) be present during the examination or inspection or to furnish such records, or both, or

(II) procure the attendance of any person whose attendance is within the power of the person in charge to procure, as the authorised officer may require to be in attendance during that examination or inspection, or to procure the furnishing of such records by such person;

(c) take, without payment, samples of anything found at or near that place or on those lands for the purpose of tests, analysis or examination;

(d) inspect and take copies of or extracts from any such records or any electronic information system at that place, including in the case of information in a non- legible form, copies of or extracts from such information in a permanent legible form or require that such copies be provided;

(e) remove from that place and retain such records (including documents stored in a non-legible form) and copies taken and detain the records for such period as the authorised officer reasonably considers to be necessary for further examination or until the conclusion of any legal proceedings;

(f) where appropriate, install, use and maintain at a place referred to in subparagraph (a) monitoring instruments or systems or take any measurements or photographs or make any tape, electronic or other recordings that the authorised officer considers necessary for the purposes of any search, examination, inspection or inquiry under this section.

(5) An authorised officer shall not, other than with the consent of the occupier, enter a private dwelling unless he or she has obtained a warrant from the District Court under paragraph (7) authorising such entry.

(6) Where an authorised officer in the exercise of his or her powers under this section is prevented from entering any place or lands, an application may be made to the District Court under subsection (7) for a warrant authorising such entry.

(7) If a judge of the District Court is satisfied on the sworn information of an authorised officer that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that there is information or records required by an authorised officer under this section held in any place or any part thereof or that there is anything at any place or in any part thereof which an authorised officer requires to inspect for the purposes of this Act and that any such inspection is likely to disclose, evidence of a contravention of section 40D, 40E, 40F or 40G, the judge may issue a warrant authorising an authorised officer, accompanied by such other authorised officer, a member of the Garda Síochána or such other person as may be appropriate, at any time or times, within one month from the date of issue of the warrant, on production of the warrant if requested, to enter the place or lands, if necessary by the use of reasonable force, and perform the functions conferred on an authorised officer by or under this Act.

(8) An application under subsection (7) shall be made to the judge of the District Court in whose district the lands or place is situated.

(9) A person shall not

(a) interfere with an authorised officer, a member of the Garda Síochána or other person in the exercise of the powers conferred on him or her under this section or a warrant under subsection (7),

(b) without reasonable excuse fail or refuse to comply with a request from or a requirement of or to answer a question asked by an authorised officer pursuant to a power conferred by this Act, or

(c) make a statement or give information to an authorised officer that the person knows to be false or misleading in a material respect.

(10) A person who contravenes subsection (9) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable

(a) on summary conviction, to a class A fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding 6 months or, at the discretion of the court, to both such fine and such imprisonment, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding Eur 500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or, at the discretion of the court, to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(11) In this section

person in charge means, in relation to a place, any of the following:

(a) the owner;

(b) the person under whose direction and control the activities at that place are being conducted;

(c) the person whom the authorised officer has reasonable grounds for believing is in control of that place;

place means any structure, premises, land or other location (including the sea) or part of such place and includes any container, railway wagon, vessel, aircraft, motor or other vehicle;

records includes any memorandum, book, report, statement, register, plan, chart, map, drawing, specification, diagram, pictorial or graphic work or other document any photograph, film or recording (whether of sound or images or both),any form in which data (within the meaning of the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018) are held, any form (including machine readable form) or thing in which information is held or stored manually, mechanically or electronically, and anything that is a part or copy, in any form, of any of, or any combination of, the foregoing.]




Inserted (9.04.2021) by European Union (Gas Act 1976) (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2021 (S.I. No. 174 of 2021), reg. 9. A class A fine means a fine not greater than €5,000 as provided (4.01.2011) by Fines Act 2010 (8/2010), ss. 3, 4(1), S.I. No. 662 of 2010.