Hundreds march in west Donegal to 'Save Our Strand'

Campaigners express concerns about the size and scale of an oyster farm planned

Carolyn Farrar

Reporter:

Carolyn Farrar

Email:

carolyn.farrar@donegaldemocrat.com

Hundreds march in west Donegal to 'Save Our Strand'

A section of today's Save Our Strand support walk.

About 300 people took part in today's Save Our Strand support walk in west Donegal to express concerns about the size and scale of planned oyster farming in the area.

"Our grievance is with the size of the oyster farm, not oyster farms in general," Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh of Altan said, addressing the crowd at the march.

The walk was organised by a local group, Coiste Timpeallachta an Ghaoth, the Channel Environmental Group.

Bearing signs that said Save Our Strand and Fág mar a fuair, with images of the scenic stretch of Braade strand where the oyster farm is planned, marchers started at two locations, Donegal Airport at Carrickfinn and Ranafast, and crossed the strand together to Annagry.

Committee members say they do not oppose oyster farms and said local communities have lived alongside long-standing area farms. But they said they oppose the size and scale of the farms under recently granted licenses, saying they will cover an area of 99 acres.

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.

Coiste Timpeallachta an Ghaoth has submitted appeals to the licenses granted for those four applications and are also seeking an oral hearing. Campaigners said they did not see the notices of the applications for the licenses published in a local newspaper or Garda stations.

On Monday, Mairéad, Daniel O’Donnell, and Moya Brennan are among the artists to perform in a sold-out concert at the Áislann Rann na Feirste to raise awareness of the campaign's concerns and to raise funds for the campaign.

See Monday's Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press for more.