Thursday, 15 July 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
The application was first submitted in January 2019. A few weeks ago, they put in a new notice that was completely unclear. The language was ambiguous and nobody could understand what it meant. Therefore, I am asking the Minister to reconsider it. I have outlined the flawed process and echoed the concerns raised by constituents. I ask him to act in good faith and accept their request for another public consultation that is unambiguous in its call for any submissions. This also highlights my earlier comments about the dysfunctional licensing system, which needs significant reform.
We referenced the 2017 review of the aquaculture licensing system as identifying delays. It also identified the need for more stringent enforcement proceedings for non-compliance with licence conditions. What is the Minister doing to address this and to address the cases where licence conditions are being breached? The licensing system cannot be unclear and be allowed to change randomly to suit businesses. The one in Bantry was refused by the Department, appealed and granted based on assessments done by the company, not by the EPA or by the Department. There must be more consistency in the licensing process. I ask the Minister to act in good faith on these issues because there will be appeals, which is an expensive process. It is unfair on communities to have to take this up again.