Concerns about the Cruit Strand and Keadue Strand locations of proposed oyster farms

Councillors worried about impact on scenery in their area

Carolyn Farrar

Reporter:

Carolyn Farrar

Concerns about the Cruit Strand and Keadue Strand locations of proposed oyster farms

The Glenties Municipal District committee and Donegal County Council Islands Committee have voiced concerns about the Cruit Strand and Keadue Strand locations of proposed oyster farms.

Opposition to the locations has grown since the plans became public in recent weeks, with area residents saying the oyster farms would spoil particularly beautiful stretches of beach that are also well used by locals and tourists.

Members of the campaigning group Save our Strands - Cruit, Kincasslagh, Keadue attended today's Island Committee meeting, where councillors expressed their support for the local campaign.

Group members have said they do not oppose oyster farms, but they have serious objections to the locations proposed for these projects. The campaign grew locally, and quickly, after people became aware of the plans through public notices that appeared in local newspapers in recent weeks.

"This campaign was never against oyster farms; this campaign is against the location," Sinn Féin Cllr. Marie Therese Gallagher, chairperson of the Glenties Municipal District, said in welcoming members of the SOS group this morning.

Earlier this week, international singing star Daniel O'Donnell also said different locations should be considered for the oyster farms. Daniel told Highland Radio's Shaun Doherty that local people would be supportive of initiatives that bring employment to the area.

"But we need to do it in a way that's not detrimental to something that's already in place, and tourism is already in place and I think this would be detrimental to tourism," Daniel said. He said the strands were also well-used by local people and described summer days when dozens of young people and others would be jumping into the water from Cruit Bridge, near to where the farms are proposed.

"What needs to be looked at, is there another location that would be acceptable, and that wouldn't have the impact on the area that putting them in these places would," Daniel said. He said he has already made a submission on the proposed projects.

Councillors at today's meeting also objected to the location.

"While we support the industry, it has to be very carefully located," Fine Gael Cllr. Terence Slowey, Donegal County Council cathaoirleach, said. He and Joe McHugh, TD, minister of state, met yesterday with local people on the issue.

"These are stunning locations on the Wild Atlantic Way," Cllr. Slowey said of the Cruit and Keadue strands. He said he will be making a submission on behalf of the council.

One application proposes an 11.2-hectare project in Kincasslagh Bay at Keadue strand, from applicant Manus Bonnar of Belcruit, Kincasslagh. A second application proposes a 12.5-hectare project in Kincasslagh Bay at Cruit strand, from applicant Benedetta M.C. Cazzamali, who lives in County Cork.

The deadline for submissions on the application for the Keadue strand project is October 14th and the deadline for submissions on the application for the Cruit strand project is October 17th. Members of the SOS group are encouraging people to make submissions by midnight on the day before both deadlines.

The applications are available for viewing on the web site of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, by searching for aquaculture/foreshore licence applications at https://www.agriculture. gov.ie.

See Thursday's Donegal Democrat for more.