Donegal march on Saturday to 'save our strand'

The Save Our Strand Support Walk is to set off on Saturday from two locations, the car park at the Áislann Rann na Feirste, on the Ranafast side, and the roadway next to Donegal Airport at Carrickfinn, on the Carrickfinn side.

By Carolyn Farrar

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By Carolyn Farrar

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editorial@donegaldemocrat.com

Donegal march on Saturday to 'save our strand'

Daniel and Majella O'Donnell

Daniel O’Donnell, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Moya Brennan are among the big names scheduled to perform in a concert on Monday to raise funds and awareness of a campaign to appeal licenses granted for oyster farms in west Donegal.

The sold-out Easter Monday concert falls two days after the Save Our Strand Support Walk, which organisers hope will draw large numbers to the west Donegal Gaeltacht community to show support for the campaign.

"We hope that people will come out and support us, because it's the numbers that will show how dissatisfied people are," Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh of Altan, who is to speak at the support walk on Saturday, said.

The Save Our Strand Support Walk is to set off on Saturday from two locations, the car park at the Áislann Rann na Feirste, on the Ranafast side, and the roadway next to Donegal Airport at Carrickfinn, on the Carrickfinn side.

The two strands of the support walk are to walk toward each other, meeting at the channel, and proceeding to Annagry. People wishing to take part in the support walk are asked to assemble at 2.30pm on Saturday at the airport or the Áislann.

The local group, Coiste Timpeallachta an Ghaoth, the Channel Environmental Group, has submitted appeals to licenses granted for oyster farms in the area, plans they say would cover a 99-acre spread. They are also seeking an oral hearing.

Committee members say they do not oppose oyster farms and said local communities have lived alongside long-standing area farms. But they oppose the size and scale of the farms under the recently granted licenses, they said.

Last December, a public notice reported the minister for agriculture, food and the marine had decided to grant aquaculture and foreshore licenses to nine applications, including four for Gaoth Dobhair Bay between Bráid and Carrickfinn to the west, and Rann na Mónadh and Rann na Feirste to the east.

The campaign has also taken issue with the location of notices published in relation to the licenses and other issues.

Mairéad said locating oyster trestles in such an area of natural beauty seems to run counter to local and regional tourism aims, particularly given the increasing numbers of people who are visiting the area as a result of the Wild Atlantic Way tourism route.

“There’s a huge contradiction there,” she said.

Monday night’s sold-out concert at the Áislann Rann na Feirste will feature performances by Daniel O’Donnell, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Moya Brennan and family, Dónal Lunny, Paddy Glackin, Mairéad Ní Dhomhnaill, Tríona Ní Dhomnaill, Mánus Lunny, Connie Mhary Mhicí, Emma Ní Fhíoruisce and Clann Mhic Ruairí, all artists from the area or who have very close ties to the area.

Actor Stephen Rea is also expected to speak at the concert.

As well as raising awareness of the campaign, the concert has also been planned as a fundraiser to help cover the costs associated with the campaign.

For example, each appeal and request for an oral hearing cost €238 and the coiste filed four, one for each application, a spokesperson for the coiste said.