Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

News

SAC designation move following EU legal threat

Denise McNamara

Published

on

Following the threat of legal action from Europe, the final step in the formal designation of Galway’s Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) has begun.

From this week landowners are being notified by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs that each of the 15 SACs spread over 2,300 acres are to be designated by statutory instrument.

Formal designation does not place any additional requirements on landowners or users than already applied from the time these sites were first identified and proposed as SACs. The process does not create any additional SAC.

“Landowners were given the opportunity to lodge an objection at the initial time of the proposed designation.

“The boundary of the sites is now finalised and there is no appeal option at this stage,” explained a Department spokesman.

“Landowners who have queries in relation to the designation may speak to the local conservation ranger who will advise and allay some of their concerns or they can contact the Department’s office for further information.”

The Habitats Directive gave member states six years to designate protected areas under their national law – turning them from “Sites of Community Interest” (SCIs) into “Special Areas of Conservation” (SACs), and to adopt the required measures for improving the status of habitats and species present on these sites.

Last April the EU Commission issued a statement, pointing out Ireland had formally designated only a minor proportion of its SCIs as SACs following the expiration of the six-year period and had not established the required conservation objectives and conservation measures for all of the remaining sites.

“This significant gap in the compliance with the key obligations under the Habitats Directive prevents the sound protection and management of the sites and constitutes a major threat to an appropriate functioning and the coherence of the Natura 2000 network as a whole,” the statement read.

Giving Ireland two months to reply, the statement added that “if Ireland fails to act, the Commission may take the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU.”

Stretching over 18% of the EU’s land area and almost 6% of its marine territory, Natura 2000 is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world.

These fifteen sites are spread across County Galway and cover turloughs, woods, nature reserves and caves.

A map of each area has been sent to landowners or those renting the land.

They are Croaghill Turlough, Derrycrag Wood Nature Reserve in Woodford, Kiltartan Cave in Coole, Levally Lough in Kilgarriff, Pollnaknockaun Wood Nature Reserve in Woodford, Ballymaglancy Cave in Cong, Rosturra Wood in Ballynagar, Barnahallia Lough in Sillerna, Lough Nageeron, Tully Lough, Gortacarnaun Wood in Kilbeacanty, Drummin Wood in Kilbeacanty, Glenloughaun Esker, Cahermore Turlough and Carrowbaun, Newhall and Ballylee Turloughs in Kiltartan.

In most cases where lands are included in a SAC, farmers will not have to change their farming methods but will be requested to carry on in the traditional way.

Dúchas, the agency with responsibility for the designated sites, consults with farmers and advises them on the appropriate changes that may need to be made.

A landowner considering making changes on the farm that might affect wildlife habitat in a designated area must consult Dúchas beforehand.

But developments considered likely to cause significant damage to the wildlife importance of a designated site will not be allowed, except for “reasons of over-riding public interest, in the absence of any realistic alternative”, according to a department briefing document.

The farmer must notify the Department if using fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides near a protected water source, altering the river flow or removing trees or vegetation from within 30 metres of the riverbank.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

Published

on

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

Published

on

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

Published

on

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending