Works on Donegal’s offshore islands must be undertaken later in the year because of restrictions detailed in the EU Habitats Directive.
At the October meeting of the council’s Islands Committee, representatives of Donegal islands asked for island works to be carried out in the summer, when transport to the island is easier and they said funds could be spent more effectively.
However, Cathal Mac Suibhne, Donegal County Council marine engineer, explained that the directive limits the available time for works on islands because of the presence of habitats of protected species, such as the corncrake.
The EU Habitats Directive, adopted in the early 1990s, and the EU Birds Directive led to the establishment of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs), which make up the European network of important ecological sites known as Natura 2000.
Before the council carries out work in those areas, they must carry out an assessment to determine the impact the works will likely have on the area and the fauna and bird life there.
Mr Mac Suibhne said one mitigating measure the council would undertake would be to leave the work until September or October, after the mating season and nesting period.
He said other mitigating measures would include choice of equipment and paths used to reach the place of the works.
"There is a lot of planning involved in doing works on islands,” he said.
The marine engineer said the National Parks and Wildlife Service works with the council and understands the constraints. "They’re there to help us,” he said.
He said, “People on the islands understand this as well.”