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Connacht Tribune

Harvesting rights are copper-fastened following State review

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The generational rights of coastal residents to harvest seaweed from Connemara’s shores has been copper-fastened by the state, following clarification from a Government Minister in the Dáil this week.

Minister Damien English made it clear that families who have traditionally harvested the coastal crop can continue to do so without reference to state or any other bodies, under what is known as the ‘profit-à-prendre’ legal tenet.

But the waters have been muddied somewhat by confirmation that tenants of coastal townlands will have to apply to the Property Registration Authority in order to legally establish seaweed harvesting rights which were previously taken for granted.

And as part of that process they will be required to prove that there was a family history of seaweed harvesting in the relevant parts of the seashore – something made more difficult given the passage of time and the absence of documentation.

The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government has also advised that any owner of seaweed harvesting rights – or person claiming ownership – should contact their legal advisors before selling or leasing out those rights.

The matter arose in the Dail on foot of a motion put down by Galway West TD Catherine Connolly – along with her fellow independent from Donegal, Thomas Pringle – in relation to Sustainable Seaweed Harvesting.

That called on government to develop and publish a national strategy which would promote the development of the seaweed sector in Ireland – with particular focus on the interests of traditional seaweed harvesters and their livelihoods.

Moreover it emphasised the huge potential for sustainable job creation in the seaweed sector for rural, coastal and island communities.

The motion also called on the government not to issue any new licences to companies in the absence of such an overall strategy.

This week, Minister Damian Engish explained ‘profit-à-prendre’ as a ‘right to take’ – and this right may be registered or unregistered, according to the Minister.

“A culture of harvesting and perception of individual or family ownership of rights to harvest seaweed is mostly found on the western seaboard. Where harvesting has been carried out over a sufficiently long period a ‘profit-à-prendre’ may have been established,” he said.

Those who claim traditional rights without being registered as such will be relying on their historic connections to firmly support their applications to the Property Registration Authority.

The finding from the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government were welcomed by Minister of State, Seán Kyne, T.D. and by Coiste Cladaí Chonamara, a group that campaigned for the recognition of the traditional rights.

However, Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív said that there has been very little advance.  He said that it would always be accepted that those who had a registered Land Folio right were entitled to harvest seaweed.

The situation where people who have had locally accepted traditional rights now have to apply for licence opens up a new scenario, he said.

The issue of traditional seaweed rights and the general terms of the 1933 Foreshore Act – amended in the nineties – appeared contradictory up to now.

The Foreshore Act inferred that any materials below the high water mark properly belonged to the State and that a licence would be required for the harvesting and removal of seaweed.

This came to head three years ago when Acadian Sea Plants, the new owners of the Arramara Teo seaweed company – headquartered in Cill Chiaráin in Connamara – applied for a seaweed harvesting licence.

This application submitted under the terms of the Foreshore Act sought a licence to harvest seaweed along a widespread area of seashore from Co Clare north along the Connemara coastline and into west Mayo.

There were also some smaller licence applications – but the one from Arramara Teo attracted most focus, since they are the largest player in the industry in Ireland.

Acadian Sea Plants from Nova Scotia bought out Arramara Teo from Údarás na Gaeltachta four years ago and the Canadian owners had a stated aim of an increase of approximately 50% in the throughput of seaweed in the Cill Chiarán plant.

They were also, in a strategy supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta, focused on producing more value added products in Connemara and consequently increasing employment levels.

However, Acadian Sea Plants sought what they termed was a guaranteed and regular supply of seaweed so that the increased investments could be justified and advanced.

Obtaining a licence over a wide area of seashore was a key element in their effort to regulate supply to the company.

Acadian Sea Plants President, JP Deveau stated in an interview earlier this year that further investment in Connemara would be contingent on a guaranteed supply of seaweed. He also stated that “Acadian Sea Plants had not come to Ireland to do three day weeks”.

A spokesman from Arramara Teo said some clarity has now been established and that the company would work with the community in ensuring that the seaweed business would be successful. They will also consult with state authorities in regard to their licence application.

“While it is now welcome that no further licences will be given to companies, it is vital that this remains the position until an overall strategy is published,” said Deputy Catherine Connolly this week.

She said that she will be raising the date for publication of this strategy in the Dáil and also clarification on what body the Minister is referring to in relation to the wild seaweed sector.

Connacht Tribune

Singer/songwriter reveals his Future Business Model

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Derek Ellard...new single from upcoming EP.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Derek Ellard is a talented Galway-based songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist; he boasts a comprehensive catalogue of live performances around the city, including support slots for the likes of Gavin James, Wallis Bird, the Frank and Walters, and Hudson Taylor.

With his primary focus though, folk-rock outfit Derek Ellard & the Future Business Model, he is forging an outlet that allows him to explore every avenue of his creative work.

And this Friday, February 10, the group is set to release Three Sheets to the Wind, their sixth single to date and the first of five tracks on a forthcoming, self-titled EP.

The song recalls some of Derek’s formative years growing up in Tipperary. It is laden with imagery and bright melodies – for those that have not previously listened, the single sets a perfect example of the range of emotions that litter Derek’s work.

“I wouldn’t say I had a strange relationship with my brother, but he was this professional rugby player who had everything together, and I kind of wasn’t,” he explains.

“We had a connection through being bold really… Two mischievous fellas and that was what we bonded over. When we look back, we remember it fondly and what inspired me to write the song was my brother telling me how, when he was younger and playing rugby for the senior team at sixteen or seventeen, he would sneak out and get absolutely bladdered with the team. He’d be sauced going into school and stuff… That was the first verse.

“We grew up in this room together with orange walls, but Dad had mixed up the paints. One side was gloss and the other was matte – it was a strange room and I included that as well.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Comer’s injury makes it a grey day all-round for out-of-sorts Galway

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Galway's Damian Comer clutches his knee in agony against Roscommon’s Conor Daly after suffering a bad injury in Sunday's National League clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

It was one of those grim days that the Galway footballers would prefer to forget. Apart from the serious knee injury sustained by Damien Comer in the opening quarter, the home team allowed a winning hand to slip late on in a dour encounter against Roscommon at Pearse Stadium.

Naturally, Comer’s injury dominated the post-match headlines. The Annaghdown man was central to Galway’s major progress in 2022, with his physicality alone giving the team a hard edge up front. To see him being stretchered off in Salthill and in obvious distress represents an incalculable blow to the Tribesmen.

Comer’s season being prematurely over only adds to Galway’s early-season woes. Heading into 2023, the team management knew they would be planning without two of their defensive pillars – Kieran Molloy (injury) and Liam Silke (work) – while the departure of utility forward Finnian Ó Laoí (travel) was also a setback.

To compound matters, Patrick Kelly is struggling to shake off a back injury, while Rob Finnerty faces at least another month on the sidelines after suffering ankle ligament damage in Galway’s opening Division One encounter against Mayo in MacHale Park. Throw in the fact that Shane Walsh is currently travelling, Padraic Joyce will be down at least six of last year’s All-Ireland final team when squaring up to Tyrone at Tuam Stadium on Sunday week.

This background will automatically test the in-depth strength of the squad in the weeks ahead, and with only one point on the board from their opening two league matches, the spectre of a relegation battle looms. Given the unavailability of so many players, Galway’s priority will now surely surround staying in the top-flight of league football.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Student musicians who took part in the Dominican College, Taylor's Hill production of My Fair Lady in January 1998.

1923

Influenza cure

Of the ills to which human flesh is heir, those which result from the periodical influenza epidemic are, perhaps, the most devastating.

The toll of human life in the great epidemic of 1918-’19 was unparalleled in the more recent history of the world. It is calculated that in the twelve months the epidemic claimed more victims than fell in the four-and-a-half years of the European war.

In Ireland the disease was no respecter of persons, the flower of the race falling an easy prey to the germ. Indeed, it is rather a remarkable fact that it was amongst the young manhood and womanhood of the country that the ravages of the disease were greatest.

This week the welcome news has been published that the bacteriologists at the Rockefeller Institute, New York, have isolated the influenza germ, and that the cure of the disease is in sight.

The discovery of the germ itself is of inestimable importance for the welfare of humanity and augurs the possibly of influenza being made a preventable disease like smallpox in, it is to be hoped, the not far distant future.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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