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Ferris highlights Corrib failure in debate on Foreshore Bill

3 December, 2009 - by Martin Ferris TD

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Natural Resources Martin Ferris TD has highlighted the failure to consult the local community in a debate on new legislation governing the granting of Foreshore Licenses. The Kerry North TD also referred to the need to take into consideration the economic as well as the environmental aspects of major projects based in coastal areas.

Deputy Ferris said: “The case that immediately springs to mind is the controversy over the granting of the Foreshore license to the companies involved in the Corrib gas project. That was granted in May 2002 by then Minister responsible Frank Fahey just prior to the general election. There has been no indication that a proper consultation process was followed in that regard.

“The foreshore is defined as the area between the high water mark and the 12 mile sea limit and yet the pipeline to be laid at Rossport, prior to the recent decision of An Bord Pleanala to request that it be re-routed, was nine kilometres from the landfall of the pipeline coming onshore.

“I have submitted an amendment setting out specifically that the consultation process should also involve relevant local groups with a proven interest in the area for which the license has been applied for. This could include for example local fishermen and others with an economic interest in the foreshore or representative local groups with concerns around the environmental impact and safety issues.

“It is also important that when a major project such as Corrib involving the oil and gas reserves that lie off our coast are involved in the granting of a Foreshore license that the criteria for examining the merit of the proposal also take into account other than the strictly environmental issues.

“Had such criteria been applied to the Corrib proposal there might well have been a different outcome. Indeed in his report rejecting the application in 2002, Inspector Kevin Moore of An Bord Pleanala did refer to the economic aspects of the proposal and claimed that the proposal did not fit in with the need for balanced and sustainable regional development, including in its economic aspects.” ENDS

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