Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
I thank the Minister of State for his reply. As expected, he gave the standard reply from the Department, which is very disappointing.I think that the manner in which this has been dealt with by the Department is grossly disingenuous. I hold the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in very high regard. It is an excellent Department with excellent officials but it has got this wrong. The fact that all of the local sentiment is not being taken into consideration prior to a decision and ministerial order being made regarding this application is dreadful. A public meeting was held in August that was attended by over 700 people. A petition has been signed by over 3,000 people. The reply referred to a number of members of the public. Over 3,000 people are concerned about the process and that number is growing. The process within the Department has now alienated applicants from those who have concerns, which is wrong.
I call again on the Minister to review this. The case of Ballyness is not an isolated one. This is happening all over the country. The manner in which these applications are being dealt with is wrong. Local communities in the areas concerned deserve to have an input. What is striking is that the National Parks and Wildlife Service is completely silent on this application. I do not know why. I know the Department may have stayed within the legislative framework but the process is wrong.