Spiddal test site a ‘Trojan horse’ claims anti-fish farm group

Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages (GBASC ) has announced it will be opposing the 35-year foreshore lease application made by the Marine Institute.

The announcement comes on the back of Monday's meeting held in Spiddal by concerned residents about the institute's application to construct testing electricity generating devices less than one mile from the Galway-Spiddal coastline, including 115 feet high wind turbines.

A spokesperson for the GBASC said: "We have taken the decision to oppose the test site application after being provided with information from the Spiddal group which isopposing the MI application.

"It recently provided us with a link to an item on the MI website, entitled Marine Institute Smartbay National Infrastructure Access Programme (NIAP ) 2016, which calls for applications for higher education institutions, small and medium enterprises, and multinational companies to apply for a €25,000 grant 'to enable researchers to access the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test site'."

GBASC said it was shocked to learn from the information provided that Smartbay Ireland Limited which is a subsidiary of the MI, plans to allow the testing of salmon farms and antifouling agents at the Spiddal site.

"This fact has been kept quiet by the MI and only last week in a statement to the local media it states, 'Under the lease application only one floating wind device could be tested on the site at any one time, with a maximum of three unique renewable marine energy devices on site at any one time'.

"No mention of the following items which, according to the Smartbay website, can be tested at the Spiddal site."

The GBASC argues that the MI is using the test site as a Trojan horse to get salmon farms into Galway Bay after the massive BIM Galway Bay salmon farm application was withdrawn last December.

"The call by the MI for applications to avail of the €25,000 grant to enable researchers to access the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site, smacks of sheer arrogance as the 35-year lease has not yet been granted or even adjudicated on by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government."

The GBASC says it believes the MI test site will have a detrimental affect on marine animals and inshore fishermen, as well as marine leisure activities.

"We urge as many people as possible to support the Spiddal residents and send in submissions before September 9 opposing the industrialization of our iconic Galway Bay. If the MI get their way, we will have to change the wording on the Wild Atlantic Way signs in Spiddal to The Spoiled Atlantic Way."

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government was contacted, but did not comment on the matter.

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