Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty will this week raise the controversial proposals for an Oyster Farm at Cruit Strand in Donegal following growing public opposition to the plans.
In a Parliamentary Question to the Minister, Deputy Doherty is expected to challenge the decision not to require the applicant to provide an Environment Impact Statement (EIS) as part of the plans submitted to the Department for consideration.
Deputy Doherty said; “There is understandably growing opposition to the application for an Aqualculture Licence for an Oyster Farm at Kincasslagh Bay adjacent to Cruit Island which, as many people are aware, is an area renowned for its natural beauty and pristine waters.”
“Last week, I attended a very successful public meeting organised by local residents where those in attendance clearly demonstrated their strong objection to the plans which would see the erection of a large number of Oyster trestles and harvesting equipment installed across several acres of the estuary bed.”
“Immediately after I learned of these plans, I contacted the Department in relation to this application where Department officials confirmed that the application has now gone out to Public Consultation, with submission from the public being accepted until 17th October.”
“Local residents however are extremely angry that the Minister for the Marine, Michael Creed has decided, in a Ministerial Determination, to waive the requirement for the applicant to provide an Environmental Impact Statement as part of the application for the development.”
“This decision now means that the window for which submissions from the public may be received in respect of the plans has been shortened considerably, therefore those wishing to make a formal objection only have a limited timeframe to air their views about the project.”
“The Minister’s decision is highly questionable, particularly when you consider the fact that the site is located within a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and considering the implications which such a large development will have on the region.”
“This is why this week I shall raise these proposals with Minister Creed, specifically concerning his decision not to require the applicant to furnish an Environmental Impact Statement in order to analyse the effect which such a project may have on the area.”
“I think it’s important that the public are given every opportunity to have their say in relation to these plans, and this is why I am encouraging as many people as possible to make a submission to the Department before the process closes later this month.”
“I have therefore made my office available to anyone who should require any help with their submission and to feel free to contact me should they request advice as to how best to put together their observation letters as part of this process.”
“I think it’s crucial that everyone recognises the amazing strength which the local community has demonstrated to date as part of their campaign against this proposed oyster farm at Cruit Strand, and I intend to support them in any way practicable.”