Green Party EU candidate Senator Grace O’Sullivan is calling for a reform of the foreshore licencing system following a visit to Coss Strand, Templenoe on Easter Sunday morning.
The Senator, who is Green Party spokesperson on Environmental Protection, Natural Resources, Tourism and the Marine, met with Save Our Beach campaigners concerned about proposals for an oyster farm there.
“Right now, our foreshore licensing laws date back to 1933 and are not fit for purpose,” she says. “The laws need to be reformed to recognise areas for recreation and amenity so that places like Coss Strand, which are used by local families, are protected, while a sustainable level of aquaculture is encouraged.”
After joining discussions with a group of people who came to Coss Strand to meet with the local Green Party candidate Cleo Murphy, Senator O’Sullivan said the area it was an example of how planning without proper public consultation can have the potential to impact negatively on communities and the environment.
“Cleo introduced me to many people who care deeply about their local area. Coss Strand is important to them as a place where families swim and older people sit out on their deck chairs.”
Ms. Murphy, who is running for election to Kerry County Council in the Kenmare area, explained that 500 people had joined a Facebook group to object to this.
“More than 100 showed up at a public meeting on Easter Monday night. They say that an oyster farm of this scale has no place here.”
Speaking after the meeting, Senator O’Sullivan said the Coss Strand situation is not an isolated one.
“I’ve met with other groups around the country. The issue of foreshore licensing needs to be examined because outdated and poorly thought out regulations leave doors open that allow for planning decisions that can have negative effects for people living in coastal communities. There is room for aquaculture enterprise, however it must be at a sustainable level that is not effecting quality of life in communities, putting wildlife and marine heritage in danger, or ruining recreational amenities.”
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