Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Order of Business
I call on the Leader to hold a debate on our natural resources so that we can see where we are going and what our long-term plan is. Yesterday I had a meeting with the Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Deputy Damien English, about seaweed harvesting in Bantry Bay, of which I am sure the Cathaoirleach is very aware, where a licence has been granted in the past few days. We need a debate on what we are doing with our natural resources. Seaweed harvesting at the level proposed has never happened before in the British Isles. There is great concern among the general public and we need to decide how we are going to police it. One of the conditions of the licence is that it will be self-policed and no other organisation will be recording data about what is happening on the ground. We need to have a debate with the line Minister, Deputy Damien English, and the Department needs to clarify how the licence is granted. It needs to address issues such as advertising, informing the public and ensuring that policing of the activity is done by the itself, rather than the individual who holds the licence. This can start a general debate about our natural resources and how we police them. This is a test case and I hope the Minister can come to the House for a real debate and a detailed discussion on his plan. We need to hear what he thinks of these proposals because without a national plan, we are shooting in the dark.