The pace of regulatory change is accelerating year on year as climate ambition increases and the levels of sophistication in improving, measuring, reporting and being held accountable for environmental performance increase.

Our cross-disciplinary ESG team has extensive experience in the environmental aspects of the energy transition, major projects, M&A transactions, real estate transactions, carbon and other trading, sustainable finance, green bonds, climate-related target plans and disclosures, shareholder activism, due diligence and climate litigation.  Collectively we are uniquely qualified to assist our clients in navigating domestic and European climate and environmental laws and regulations relevant to their operations and investments.

We are at the forefront of the energy transition and sustainable investment, supporting clients to manage risks and take advantage of opportunities in the rapidly changing global landscape.  We have extensive experience acting for sponsors, investors, developers, funders, regulators and State bodies in regulating, developing, funding and investing in sustainable projects and businesses.

Our practice includes:

Energy System Transition

  • Renewable energy including advising sponsors, lenders and offtakers on more than 120 onshore wind projects on the island of Ireland including many of Ireland’s largest projects, including the 172MW Oweninny Phase 1&2 Windfarm, the 100MW Knockcummer Windfarm and the 95MW Meenadreen Extension Windfarm, and advising Highfield Solar on the development and financing of the 282MW Rosspile and Gillinstown Solar Portfolio, the largest solar portfolio financed in Ireland. We are also the sole external legal advisor to the State for almost 20 years on the grant and administration of all Foreshore Leases for offshore wind projects in Ireland.
  • Energy Storage including advising the Export Import Bank of Korea and Kookmin Bank on the financing of the 2x100MW Lumcloon and Shannonbridge Battery Energy Storage Systems and Corre Energy on the 300MW Zuidwending Compressed Air Energy Storage Project in the Netherlands.
  • Transmission, Distribution & Interconnection including advising the sponsors on the 500MW HVDC Moyle Interconnector; the 500MW HVDC East West Interconnector, the 500MW HVDC Greenlink Interconnector and the proposed 700MW HVDC Celtic Interconnector.

Energy Efficiency & Demand Side Response

  • Energy services concessions & retrofitting including advising on energy efficiency obligations, energy efficiency contracts and energy services concessions for public buildings, including a number of hospitals, retrofitting buildings and green leases.
  • Demand side response, aggregation and smart metering including advising on aggregation of distributed generation and demand response; DS3 services and regulatory and data protection considerations associated with smart metering.
  • Electric vehicles including advising on charging infrastructure and regulation of charging services.

Resource Management & the Circular Economy

  • Energy Recovery Projects including advising the sponsors on the development and financing of the 600,000 tpa Dublin Waste to Energy Project, Ireland’s largest Waste to Energy Facility.
  • Water and wastewater projects including advising Irish Water and its technical advisors on obtaining all project consents, including the planning permission, water abstraction consent and compulsory purchase order for the State’s largest water infrastructure project. We also advise major water users on connection to the water networks and advise on non-domestic water and wastewater tariffs.
  • Flood relief and arterial drainage projects including advising the Office of Public Works on various contracts, including for flood relief schemes and assisting in various conciliations and other dispute resolution fora for a number of schemes.

Carbon Sequestration & Emissions Reduction

  • Emissions Trading including advising on the EU-ETS, non-ETS sectors and voluntary carbon trading.
  • Carbon capture and storage including advising on regulatory and environmental consenting aspects of carbon capture and storage under domestic and European law.
  • Land Use, Land Use Change & Forestry including advising Coillte on its Sliabh Bawn wind farm development and on its diversification into energy, and on environmental and planning matters arising from the State forestry company’s land holding and changing land use.
  • Transition to non-fossil Fuels including advising and representing Irish Cement in relation to its solid recovered fuel at its cement factories in Limerick and Meath and also on its parallel applications to the EPA in relation to the replacement of fossil fuel with non-fossil waste.

Sustainable Finance

  • Asset management/investment funds including advising UCITS management companies and AIFMs on the impacts of various European Commission legislative initiatives including the Taxonomy Regulation, the Disclosures Regulation and the Low Carbon Benchmarks & Positive Impact Benchmarks Regulation and other corresponding changes to UCITS and AIFMD to integrate sustainability into organisational and operational requirements and risk management.
  • Green and Sustainable Lending including advising a range of corporate issuers including Vodafone, Tesco, Ryanair and Glencore on their Irish financing vehicles. We also have extensive experience advising on sustainable finance and green bonds. Other representative experience includes advising Johnson Controls on its debut $625m Green Bond and its first Sustainability-Linked Bond ($500m), acting as Irish counsel to Arctic Securities as sole manager of a €110m Norwegian law green bond to fund the development of solar power generation assets, and advising the managers on the landmark issuance of Ireland’s (acting through the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA)) first sovereign green bond.
  • Green Bonds including advising the managers on the landmark issuance of Ireland’s first sovereign green bond and acting as Irish counsel to Arctic Securities as sole manager of a €110m Norwegian law green bond issued by an Irish SPV subsidiary of Alternus Energy Group PLC to fund the development of solar power generation assets in Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and Romania.

Climate-Related Plans, Disclosures and Activism

  • Horizon scanning legislative, regulatory and voluntary developments in relation to climate-related disclosures, plans and targets, including the interaction between domestic and international frameworks.
  • Strategic advice to companies on devising and implementing policies and work-streams to manage climate-related impacts, plans, targets and resulting disclosures.
  • Shareholder Activism including advising listed companies on shareholder expectations in relation to climate change and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Environmental Due Diligence

  • Due Diligence obligations in relation to environmental impacts, including assisting companies prepare for mandatory obligations for their value chains through the development of policies and strategic oversight.

Environmental Contacts

Alex McLean

Partner | Dublin

Alex is the Head of Sustainability and ESG and a member of the Arthur Cox Sustainable Business Committee, with particular responsibility for the firm’s Pro Bono practice. Alex has a broad based infrastructure and utilities practice, with particular expertise in renewables, energy and natural resources law. Alex has almost twenty five years energy regulatory, transactional and major projects experience in Ireland and Australia and has been centrally involved in the liberalisation of the energy markets in both jurisdictions. He has extensive experience acting for government, regulators, financiers, market participants and customers, both on the island of Ireland and internationally, and combines broad industry expertise with a strong background in energy regulation and reform. He leads our cross-departmental ESG Group, which assists clients with the identification and integration of ESG priorities at all levels of their business.

Maedhbh Clancy

Of Counsel | Dublin

Maedhbh is Of Counsel with the firm’s Finance Group. She has significant experience in the areas of financial regulation, lending, debt capital markets and partnership law. Maedhbh is responsible for legal, regulatory and commercial awareness; horizon-scanning for clients; education (internal and client) via training and tailored legal and regulatory updates; the publication of industry alerts on key developments; and the development and implementation of other strategic initiatives in the areas of know-how, risk management and precedent development. Maedhbh is the editor of Twomey on Partnership (2nd ed., Bloomsbury Professional, 2019) and the author of a number of industry publications. She is also a member of sub-committees of various industry groups including the International Capital Market Association and the Irish Debt Securities Association.

Phil Cody

Partner | Dublin

Phil Cody is a partner in the firm’s Finance Group.  Phil advises on a broad range of finance and financial services matters. His practice encompasses structured finance, derivatives, debt capital markets, lending transactions (domestic and cross-border, both lender and borrower), financial regulation, and transactions involving investment funds (including fund finance).  Phil is a trusted adviser to many of the leading Irish and international financial institutions on Irish law matters and is a go-to Irish counsel for foreign market participants and law firms.  Phil leads the firm’s derivatives and trading practice and regularly advices on derivatives, repos and securities lending matters and related netting, collateral and regulatory issues.

Danielle Conaghan

Partner | Dublin

Danielle is a partner and Head of the Environment and Planning Group, and is a founder member of the firm’s Food and Agribusiness Group. Danielle has specialist expertise and uses her project management skills in advising on matters including the decision-making processes from pre-consultation and application stages through to oral hearing, construction and operational stages and securing and assessing the risk of providing project-financing. Danielle regularly presents at national Environmental, Planning and Energy conferences; lectures on the Law Society of Ireland Environmental Diploma Course and is co-author, with Dr. Yvonne Scannell, of the annual environmental chapter of ‘Construction Projects: Law and Practice’, published by Thomson Reuters.

Grainne Hennessy

Partner | Dublin

Grainne practises in finance law with particular emphasis on real estate finance, construction finance, syndicate financing, leveraged financing, receivables financing and lending to QIAIFs, ICAVs and REITs. Grainne advises financial institutions and borrowers on: syndicate finance; real estate finance (including student accommodation and social housing); construction finance; leveraged acquisition finance; green and sustainable finance; debt restructuring, including debt for equity swaps, warrant issues and debt write offs; financing to Qualifying Investor Alternative Investment Funds (QIAIFs); Irish Collective Asset-management Vehicles (ICAVs); Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Limited Partnerships; unitranche financing and mezzanine financing. Grainne was ranked as a “Star Individual” by Chambers and Partners from 2018 - 2022, and was the only Banking and Finance lawyer in Ireland with this ranking.

Suzanne Kearney

Of Counsel | Dublin

Suzanne is Of Counsel and leads the knowledge function within the Corporate and M&A Group. She has significant experience in company law and practice. Suzanne is responsible for keeping colleagues and clients updated on relevant legal, regulatory, and commercial developments in the areas of company law, corporate governance, corporate transactions, and equity capital markets.  She regularly presents at seminars on a range of topics and authors practice briefings and client alerts.  She represents the firm in discussions with industry groups and regulators on key developments that will impact our clients and is a member of the Law Society’s Business Law Committee.

Conor McCarthy

Partner | London

Conor is a partner in the  Corporate and M&A Group and Head of the London office. Conor advises public and private industry-leading Irish and international corporates on all aspects of Irish company law and equity capital markets transactions. Conor advises clients on a wide range of corporate transactions including M&A transactions, joint ventures, corporate finance transactions, cross border mergers, corporate reorganisations and general corporate/commercial law matters. Conor also specialises in advising both issuers and banks in relation to equity capital markets transactions. Conor also works with his litigation colleagues in advising parties to complex shareholder and other commercial disputes. Conor has advised on some of the most high profile Irish M&A and equity capital markets transactions in recent years. Conor joined the firm in 2014 from Linklaters LLP in London.

Niamh McGovern

Partner | Dublin

Niamh advises a broad range of clients across the energy, construction and infrastructure sectors. Niamh has significant experience advising clients on high value and complex projects in the energy, construction and infrastructure sectors. In the energy sector, Niamh regularly advises corporates, developers and lenders on renewables projects (onshore wind, solar, offshore wind and other renewable technologies), conventional generation projects, joint ventures and all types of commercial contracts.  She has also acted for developers, contractors, and lenders on a wide range of construction projects, PPPs, development finance transactions (including the residential, leisure, and office accommodation sectors), and on the construction aspects of many project finance transactions (principally in the energy, transport and social infrastructure sectors). In addition, Niamh has recently advised on a number of large transactions in the pharmaceutical and telecoms sectors.

Kevin Murphy

Partner | Dublin

Kevin a partner in the firm’s Asset Management and Investment Funds Group. He has extensive experience in advising in the area of financial regulation and asset management. In particular, he has considerable experience in advising on the legal and regulatory issues relating to the establishment in Ireland of investment funds (including UCITS, QIAIFs, ETFs, money market funds and private equity funds) as well as UCITS management companies and AIFMs (including those with MiFID top-up approvals). Kevin also advises on ongoing regulatory compliance issues affecting financial services companies operating in Ireland including inspections and investigations by the Central Bank of Ireland and compliance with other obligations such as ESG/SFDR, GDPR and AML. He also advises financial institutions and asset management firms on various matters arising from market, regulatory or dispute/litigation-driven events. He is a regular speaker at industry conferences. Kevin has also contributed to asset management and investment funds industry publications, such as the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.  He is a past Chair of the Irish Funds and a past member of An Taoiseach’s (the Prime Minister’s) Funds Group. He has also advocated for clients before representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

Tara O’Reilly

Partner | Dublin

Tara is a partner in the firm’s Asset Management and Investment Funds Group. Tara has extensive experience in advising leading asset managers and fund promoters. Tara has extensive experience advising clients both globally and domestically in the structuring, establishment, management and sale of a wide variety of investment funds in the UCITS and alternative space. Tara advises those funds, their management companies, servicing operations and directors of their regulation, compliance and corporate governance requirements.  Tara has also advised on a number of large asset management group and platform amalgamations.  Tara has a particular expertise in ETFs and is a leadership member of the Irish chapter of Women in ETFs. Tara is also a regular contributor on asset management and investment funds to international journals and publications.

Deirdre Sheehan

Partner | Dublin

Deirdre is a partner in the Real Estate Department and provides comprehensive, targeted advice to public and private sector, domestic and international clients on acquisitions and disposals of commercial property, landlord and tenant matters and property finance arrangements. She regularly provides real estate advices to our corporate, banking, and environmental and planning teams and is particularly experienced in commercial real estate investment transactions, Private Rented Sector (PRS) matters and Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) deals.

Imelda Shiels

Partner | Dublin

Imelda is a partner in the Finance Group. Imelda advises both borrowers and financial institutions on a wide range of domestic and international financing transactions, including secured and unsecured lending, syndicate finance, acquisition finance, real estate finance, development finance, working capital finance and debt restructuring.

Sarah Thompson

Partner | Belfast

Sarah Thompson is a financial services regulatory partner at Arthur Cox. Sarah has experience in advising a broad range of clients on financial regulation matters and is admitted to practice in Northern Ireland, Ireland and England & Wales. Sarah advises on Central Bank of Ireland authorisation processes, perimeter issues, ongoing compliance with conduct of business and other requirements (with a special focus on ESG matters and on the Individual Accountability Framework and the Senior Executive Accountability Regime, IAF/SEAR), and financial services M&A. Prior to joining Arthur Cox, Sarah worked in London as a member of the Financial Regulation Group of Linklaters LLP and a partner in the Financial Services Regulatory team of Kirkland & Ellis International LLP.