Coastal Communities being kept in Limbo over Oyster Farms
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.
Dohertys 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.
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
time I have attempted to get clarification on its status and when
a decision would be made in respect of the application, the Ministers
answer has been almost exactly the same and has replied to me to
state that the licence application is currently awaiting decision.
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.
Ministers 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having since been withdrawn.
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
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
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.
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.