Irish Examiner, 1 April 2013: Strong objections voiced against plan for €50m organic salmon farm near island

Strong objections voiced against plan for €50m organic salmon farm near island

Monday, April 01, 2013

The body representing the views of a number of islanders living closest to a planned €50m organic salmon farm said it strongly objects to the plan.

By Gordon Deegan
The Aran island of Inis Oírr lies closest to Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s Deep Sea Project plan that it believes will employ 350 people directly and a further 150 indirectly and provide €100m in exports on an annual basis.

However, Comhar Caomhan Teo has said that the proposal “offers no benefit to Inis Oírr” in view of the condition of Inis Oírr pier and the fact that no offices or storage will be based on the island.

The objection is one of 410 submissions received by the Department of Agriculture and, to date, the department is refusing to release the contents of the submissions as it considers the fish farm proposal.

However, in its submission, CCT said: “The community will have no meaningful voice or control over the project. We will be at the mercy of a multi-national and relying on them putting ethics ahead of profits.”

The body — which has 262 members that makes up the vast majority of the islanders — warns: “Should the minister go against our wishes and grant the licence, we will be using all avenues of appeal available to us nationally and internationally.

“The only way people from Inis Oírr would be in a position to seek employment related to the fish farm would be to move from the island. This is the scenario the islands and island community are constantly battling to avoid.

“First and foremost, we believe that the process used in developing the project and the Environmental Impact Statement is not independent or transparent and could be construed as a conflict of interest.

“The minister has requested a state body under his own remit to apply to the minister’s department for a licence for this project. We also believe an independent outside body should have been contracted by BIM to carry out the EIS.”

In the Dáil last week, Simon Coveney, the minister for the marine, said the department will make a decision on the application “when I have all the information”.

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