Warning over Dublin Bay survey

Wed, Nov 21, 2012, 00:00

A planned acoustic survey of oil and gas reserves in Dublin Bay will destroy fishing grounds, local fishermen claimed at a demonstration outside the Dáil today.

The Dún Laoghaire fishermen’s group joined various campaigners against the granting of a foreshore licence last month to Providence Resources for the survey and exploratory drilling 6km off the Dalkey coast.

Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath said “there is an attempt to portray this as Dalkey versus other areas. That is not the issue”. It was about preserving the “very valuable asset” that was Dublin Bay, the Independent TD said.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, a member of the Save Our Seafront campaign which organised the demonstration, said it wanted the license revoked and a public inquiry to be held as “due process has not been followed here”.

“We want this process to go right back to the start,” he said, citing inadequate public consultation.

The Department of the Environment, which granted the foreshore licence, stressed that it had already committed to widespread consultation, which could include a public inquiry, in the event an application for oil or gas exploration at the site.

Others speaking at the protest included Maura Harrington of the Shell to Sea campaign, and Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin TD for Sligo/North Leitrim, who drew parallels between the “dubious benefits” of oil exploration with planned fracking operations in his constituency.

In response to the fishermen’s concerns, a spokesman for Providence pointed out that the foreshore licence application included an environmental impact assessment. The company also intended to create a liaison post with fisherman in advance of the survey, now planned for early next year pending the outcome of any legal challenge.

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