----- The Voice of Ireland's Fishing Industry and Maritime Community - Published Monthly, Established 1989 -----

Donegal Coastal Communities being kept in Limbo over Oyster Farms

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has hit out at Minister for the Marine Michael Creed over the lack of progress being made in respect of a number of aquaculture licence applications and licencing appeals relating to oyster farms in West Donegal which have yet to be determined.

April 13th 2017

Deputy Doherty’s comments come following confirmation from the Minister this week that a licence application at Cruit Strand, which received a Ministerial waiver not requiring the applicant to provide an environmental impact statement for the plans, is still awaiting decision – some six months after public consultation ended last October.

Deputy Doherty said: “This week, I again raised the issue of the controversial licence application for an oyster farm at Cruit Strand, something which I have been continuously seeking answers on from the Minister ever since the period of public an statutory consultation ended last October.

“Each time I have attempted to get clarification on its status and when a decision would be made in respect of the application, the Minister’s answer has been almost exactly the same and has replied to me to state that the licence application is currently awaiting decision.

“I even wrote to the Minister in November to inquire the length of time it is likely to take for a decision to be finalised, and he replied then to state that the application for Cruit Strand was undergoing active consideration in accordance with the relevant legislation and that he could not comment further.

“The Minister’s reluctance to provide clarity to these communities was in spite of the fact that over 3,200 submissions were received from the public relating to licence applications at Cruit Strand and at Keadue during consultation stage last year, the latter application having since been withdrawn.

“I have also repeatedly called on the Minister and the Licencing Appeals Board to clarify when it will rule on appeals which were made concerning the granting of aquaculture licences at Braade Strand and the Gaoth Dobhair Bay area, and the Board replied to me to state that, depending on what it has termed as the ‘complexity’ of appeals, that it may be necessary to extend the time for a decision to be made.

“This is ridiculous, and both the Minister and his Department have and continue to show nothing but contempt for the communities affected who are still being kept in limbo while the fate of their coasts remains uncertain.

“Sinn Féin representatives and I have attended a number of public meetings held over the last number of months such as those held at Áislann Rann na Feirste, and those in attendance voiced their opposition to these licences being granted, and there were very real concerns over the impact which these developments will have on scenic spots such as Rann na Feirste, Rann na Mónadh, An Chruit and Cionn Caslach, places where the natural beauty has acted as the inspiration for numerous Irish language literary works.

“Right from the start I pledged to support these communities and stand with them to defend and protect their coasts against badly planned and unwanted large scale aquaculture, and I will continue to voice their views despite the considerable defiance which has been shown by the Minister and his Department.”

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April 2017 Issue - Vol 29 No.11

April 2017 issue in all good stockists

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