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Objectors fear marine test site could facilitate fish farm

Dara Bradley

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Fears are growing that the Marine Institute’s plans for a test site off Spiddal could pave the way for a fish farm in Galway Bay ‘through the back door’.

Campaigners are concerned about a statutory instrument that was enacted by Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, which change licencing laws for salmon farms for research purposes.

The change to regulations, which was advertised in national newspapers this week, and which was backdated to August 26, will allow salmon farms under 50 tonnes to operate without an Environmental Impact Assessment. Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages said the change, “seems to be an attempt by Minister Creed to remove a major obstacle which would have prevented the Marine Institute getting their lease application in Spiddal sanctioned”.

The campaign group’s chairman, Billy Smyth, said: “We were right to be concerned about the Marine Institutes salmon farming plans for the Galway Bay Test Site at Spiddal. This new statutory instrument proves that we weren’t scare mongering when we said that the Marine Institute were going to allow salmon farms at the site under the guise of research.”

Last month, GBASC indicated it would be opposing plans for a lease for the test site at Spiddal.

The group said Minister Creed’s signing into law the statutory instrument confirms their suspicions that the test site could be used for salmon farming.

Mr Smyth said: “It would be a total waste of taxpayers’ money if the Marine Institute were to set up farmed salmon research stations in Irish waters, as the Norwegians have being carrying out similar research for the last 40 years to try to find out how to environmentally and sustainably farm salmon in open sea cages, and so far they have failed. Wild salmon in Norwegian rivers that flow into Fjords and bays that contain salmon farms are nearly extinct from disease, infestations of sea lice and escapees from salmon farms. Let the Marine Institute just ask the Norwegians for the results of their research and save money.

“It is time that a public inquiry is conducted into the failed salmon farming industry in this country to determine how an industry that employs directly, less than 150 people can acquire tens of millions of euro in State supports for little return, while our hospitals are bursting at the seams and thousands are homeless for the want of funding.”

The Marine institute’s original application stated it was seeking permission to deploy three turbines of 60 metres in height.

However, it has since corrected its application and insists that the “devices” will be half that height.

“A prototype floating wind turbine being tested on the site could have a blade tip at maximum 35m above sea level while wave energy converters would be up to 5m above sea level,” it said.  It has applied for a 35-years lease, and the wind turbines will be on site “intermittently”.

The application states that there will be a limit of three ocean energy test devices deployed at any one time for a period of testing “no greater than 18 months”.

CITY TRIBUNE

Pub and GAA club visits on the agenda for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Stephen Corrigan

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Two senior members of the British Royal Family are to visit Galway next month – with preparations already underway to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the city in March.

Gardaí issued notice yesterday (Thursday) morning that a number of streets in the city are to be closed on March 5. Coinciding with the already announced visit of ‘Kate and Wills’ to Ireland, this caused widespread speculation that the royal pair would cross the Shannon as part of their visit.

While Gardaí and Galway City Council refused to confirm or deny the speculation yesterday, the Galway City Tribune understands that Kate and William will spend the day in Galway, and will visit Tigh Chóilí on Mainguard Street – as well as calling in on Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA club.

The Garda notice issued yesterday alerts locals that Williamsgate Street, William Street, Shop Street, High Street, Mainguard Street and possibly Abbeygate Street will all be closed between 6am and 2pm on March 5 – making way for the large security operation required for a royal visit.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Revellers leave city in RAG order

Stephen Corrigan

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A queue assembled from early morning on Donegal Tuesday.

Gardaí in Galway recovered €8,000 worth of drugs this week in two separate seizures in Rahoon and Ballybane which they believed were destined for distribution in the city this week – as thousands of students celebrate unofficial ‘RAG Week’.

Sizable quantities of Ketamine and smaller amounts of cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy and Valium were all seized as part of the operation which took place on Friday last, February 7 and on Tuesday, February 11.

The removal of these drugs from circulation on Galway’s streets was as a result of an intelligence-led operation carried out by the Garda Divisional Drugs Unit.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said: “We believe these drugs were destined for sale and supply in Galway City this week, and as a result of this good detection, they have now been removed from circulation”.

One man was arrested following the seizures and has since been released without charge. A file is being prepared for the DPP and investigations are ongoing, a Garda statement confirmed.

Meanwhile, RAG Week has resulted in a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour in the city – with one restaurant owner who had his windows broken calling for the colleges to take ownership of the event which they have distanced themselves from for a number of years.

The student-led event, which had been run by the Student’s Unions of NUIG and GMIT up to 2011, has become an annual unofficial week of partying – and Michelin Star-restaurant owner, JP McMahon, said the colleges need to take responsibility for changing the attitude of their students after the window of his restaurant, Aniar, on Dominick Street, was shattered on Tuesday.

“I was actually in the restaurant when it happened – it was at around 10pm and I was doing a cookery class,” he said.

Mr McMahon said he had to physically apprehend one of a group of five students to ensure that they remained at the scene until the Gardaí arrived – but none of those had been responsible for the break.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Chief Executive meets with soccer club to outline playing time options at Cappagh

Francis Farragher

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Flashback...the temporary floodlights being removed from Cappagh Park.

CITY Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, told councillors this week that he had met with the Chairman of Knocknacarra FC to outline the situation as regards the floodlighting situation with the all-weather pitch.

“I explained to him why planning permission was needed for the use of floodlights at the pitch and also outlined a range of options available until this issue [floodlights] was resolved,” said Brendan McGrath.

He said that the soccer club had been guaranteed 34 hours weekly usage of the pitch – including eight hours on both Saturday and Sunday, with 20 of those hours free.

The remaining twelve hours were provided at a rate of €40 per hour which he said was a very reasonable charge for the facility.

“I know of similar facilities in the city where there is a charge of €100 per hour and, where they are floodlit, this rises to €120 to €130 and hour,” said Brendan McGrath. He added that annual maintenance costs at the pitch came to €10,000.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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