Directive 2001/42/EC requires Member States of the European Union to strategically evaluate and address likely significant environmental effects of certain proposed plans and programmes on the environment. The applications of this process in Ireland came into effect with the adoption
of SEA regulations in 2004. The experience of integrating SEA into the review of a local area development plan in Ireland is outlined and critically evaluated in this paper. The SEA process is found to have considerable potential in relation to land-use planning, especially insofar as it appears
to facilitate and stimulate an enhanced degree of community participation, but the realization of its full benefits is constrained by operational factors, some of which are attributable to a lack of familiarity with this novel process. Failure to provide adequately in the plan review process
for the timely consideration of SEA outputs and an apparent reticence on the part of local decision makers to fully engage with SEA appear to be adversely affecting implementation.