Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

Preserving Ireland's Natural Heritage: Discussion

2:15 pm

Photo of Michael CollinsMichael Collins (Cork South West, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I will be brief as we have already discussed many of the issues I raised. How do we strike a balance and find a solution in regard to An Taisce? I said it was faceless, has broken the hearts of many, has caused extreme frustration and is very much disliked in rural Ireland, to say the least. I have found no one who will say a good word about it. How do we find a solution? Mr. Lumley did not touch on that in his reply. Can we find a solution, or work together to find one? Can An Taisce come out from behind the iron curtain and speak to the people? In county councils, when talking about planning, one might argue a point, but one will have someone to argue with. One might lose one's argument but at least it can be discussed and a decision cannot be made that has an effect people's lives but no one has a say.

There was a suggestion that the Department might have been caught regarding solar farms. It very much looks like that. I have a feeling that it likes being caught because it has been notified about it for quite some time but is doing nothing about it. There has to be a reason for it. An Taisce was also cut off regarding kelp. The notification was put in the newspaper. There was a planning application for 1,880 acres. It will have a devastating effect on tourism in Ventry, in Sheep's Head and in the Bearra peninsula. Why did An Taisce not object? It is talking about nature and all sorts of different things but this is going to cause absolute destruction, or it is alleged that it will. Where was An Taisce when that advertisement came out because if it was a small once-off house, it would have been on the ball straight away? It should be no different than if it 1,880 acres in the water.

Deputy Healy-Rae mentioned the shooting ban and Mr. Lumley touched on it in his reply. In regard to foxes, the overnight situation is crazy. Many people have contacted us about that. I do not know who came up with that idea. It is yet another dreamed up idea. I would like some answers to these questions.


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