DONEGAL DEPUTY Pearse Doherty has accused the Government of hampering business growth in the county.
He was speaking in response to replies to his Parliamentary Questions to Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine in relation to the delays in processing aquaculture and foreshore licences.
The Donegal South West Deputy Pearse Doherty said today: “I am extremely disappointed to hear that there are 618 aquaculture
licence applications still awaiting determination from the Department,
with the harvesting season for this year already much underway.
“While the exact time taken to process the applications was not
forthcoming from the Minister, reports from those in the industry
suggest that applicants are waiting up to seven years in some cases
for a decision on their applications. This is a ridiculous situation.
“While I appreciate that the Department has obligations to ensure that
national and EU legislation is complied with in full, it is extremely
frustrating to hear that locals with the potential to start up
export-led businesses trading in shellfish and other marine products,
which would create employment and enrich their local economies, are
experiencing such long delays in obtaining these licences.
“For example, my office has been in contact with an individual in west
Donegal, who has lined up a potential investor in an oyster farming
business which would create significant local employment and provide a
great boost to his local area. Despite having held the licence for 22
years previously for the same location, he cannot proceed with his
venture due to the red-tape in administering the licences.
Deputy Doherty continued:
“I have written to Minister Simon Coveney with regards to this matter
today and I will continue to highlight the issue. The Department needs
to establish an appropriate system which enables it to process these
applications without undue delay.
“It is simply unacceptable, in today’s economic climate, that those
seeking to engage in local businesses and create employment should be
hindered in doing so.