This paper considers the existing law and policy framework for ocean energy development in Ireland. As a nation, Ireland proposes to have 75MW of ocean energy connected by 2012 and a further 500MW by 2020. This has been supported by various policy documents and Government initiatives in recent years. Despite the obvious Government support for offshore renewable energy, the existing legal framework presents a veritable barrier to development progress. This paper provides a succinct overview of the existing applicable legal regime focusing on licensing and planning aspects. Specifically it examines the realities of the Foreshore Acts, Electricity Regulation Act, Planning & Development Acts and associated Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations and their role in wave energy development. This sets the context for a review of the problems associated with the existing legal regime, including delay and uncertainty, before presenting possible measures which may help address them. The latter discussion is framed within the context of developing and forthcoming European and national initiatives such as the Integrated Maritime Policy, Maritime Spatial Planning, Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Strategic Environmental Assessment.