Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher has outlined in detail the procedures and current factual position concerning the application for an Aquaculture shell fish farm licence for Cruit Island oyster farm recently agreed by Minister for Marine Michael Creed.
His comments come following a lengthy discussions with Department of Marine Officials concerning the matter.
“Firstly, the Appropriate Assessment of the waters and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) around Cruit Island & Keadue have been completed and were published on the 12 February 2016. In the case of Oyster farms or Shell fish farms, no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required; this has been the agreed procedure and norm on all shell fish aquaculture licence applications since 2012. In the case of fin fish farming such as salmon etc., an EIA is automatically required” stated Pat the Cope.
The screening for suitability of a particular area for Aquaculture – such as Cruit Island and Keadue is solely a matter for the Minister for the Marine.
When the Appropriate Assessment was completed by the Department, it was then signed off on by the Minister, as was the case in relation to Kincasslagh Bay covering Cruit Island and Keadue, when Minister Michael Creed signed the order on the 22nd August 2016.
Pat the Cope further outlined that public opinion is now being sought on the Minister’s decision to proceed with the individual applications and their respective licence applications for shell fish farms.
The public opinion being sought is the suitability of the individual application, its location, its scale, its impact on the amenity and the environment.
The general public, residents, action groups, sectoral groups and state bodies have until the 13th of October in respect of Keadue and the 17th of October for Cruit Island to make their submissions by either letter or email format and no fee applies for making a public submission.
Submissions by email can be sent to the following email – firstname.lastname@example.org each submission must be referenced T12/458 A & B in respect of Cruit and reference T12/474 in respect of Keadue.
Following receipt of the public’s submissions regarding the licence applications, a report is prepared by the Department officials to revert back to the Minister for Marine; it is he as Minister alone that decides the outcome of the licence applications on the basis of the evidence before him. The decision he makes must under statute, go for a further round of public consultation for a period of 30 days.
Statutory bodies or individuals have again the right to appeal the decision made by the Minister, as does the applicants should the decision be negative.
It is at this stage only an appeal can be made to Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB) which is an independently constituted board; ALAB – have the right to endorse the decision of the Minister, amend the decision or over- turn the decision of the Minister. The final determination made by ALAB can only be appealed by way of a judicial review through the courts on a point of procedure on the process.
It is important the public are aware that only one appeals mechanism is available to them following the Ministers final decision stated Pat the Cope.
Pat the Cope strongly urged individuals, interested parties and community groups to make their views known by way of written submission to the Department, it would be extremely important that their submissions would outline their own unique objections, concerns and areas of opposition to the proposed site for the Oyster farm.
It will be also necessary that state bodies such as Failte Ireland, Dept. Environment, NPWS, An Taisce, Inland fisheries Ireland, Marine Institute, Donegal County Council, Udaras na Gaeltachta, Inland Fisheries express their views also, especially those charged with protecting the natural beauty of the area and the totally unspoilt location.
It will be necessary that these state bodies are made aware of the level of public disquiet and the public’s view of the proposed development in the Cruit Island and Keadue areas concluded Pat the Cope.Tags: