Dáil debates

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

2:40 pm

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Dublin West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

With a court process under way I am loath to comment in much detail and it is not possible for me to intervene in the actions of a court. What we have to do when it comes to all of these issues is to balance on the one hand the need to protect our environment and on the other ensuring we promote marine rural employment and marine rural industries.

I am advised that the licence was the subject of a piece on a recent edition of the "Eco Eye" programme but that neither the Department nor BioAtlantis Limited was asked to contribute. They would argue that the piece in question did not accurately reflect all the facts of the case, including the extent of the area to be harvested annually or the provisions regarding sustainability inserted into the granted licence.

An environmental impact assessment was not carried out. Such an assessment is a mandatory requirement for a wide range of public and private projects - including those relating to motorways, airports, installations and the disposal of hazardous waste - under in annex 1 of the relevant directive. However, an assessment was not necessary in this case because the proposed project is not within a Natura 2000 site and is not of a class set out in the directive to which I refer.

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