County council ‘concerned’ over proposed fish farm

The proposed fish farm for Galway Bay has met with the “reservations” of Galway county councillors, who are demanding that the Government take note of their concerns.

At Monday’s county council meeting, Independent councillor Jim Cuddy put forward a motion expressing “concerns and reservations about the proposed fish farm”. A planning application for the farm, by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara, is seeking to locate it off the coast of Inis Óirr.

Cllr Cuddy has “serious reservations” about the farm on the basis that it will “more than double the current production of farmed salmon in Ireland”. Cllr Cuddy argues that this will both “endanger wild salmon stocks and public health”.

The motion was passed at Monday’s meeting and it will now be sent on to the Minister for Fisheries Simon Coveney.

“The Minister will recognise the concerns of the council and of the various individuals and groups around Galway regarding the possible impact that a farm of this scale will have on our natural habitat and our tourism industry,” said Cllr Cuddy.

In the debate, the Mayor of County Galway, Thomas Welby, also reiterated his opposition to this proposal.

On March 5 in the Dáil, in replies to concerns over the fish farm by Fine Gael Galway West TD Sean Kyne, Minister Coveney said all aspects of the application are being examined by the Department in conjunction with its scientific, engineering, technical and legal advisers. He said it is also possible to appeal the final ministerial decision through the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board.

While Minister Coveney did point out that he must “separate myself from the project to the extent that I need to make an independent decision” based on the submissions of concern and the “advice I receive from scientists”, he may have given an indication of his thinking on the matter by stating:

“I understand that some people are concerned about this project, while many people support it. When one is doing something new in Ireland, concerns are always expressed

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