Councillors to contact minister over Linsfort Beach

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Inishowen’s County Councillors are to write to the Department of the Marine in relation to the granting of a licence for an oyster farm at Linsfort beach.

Representatives from an opposition group which oppose the development were present at Tuesday’s Inishowen Municipal District meeting in Carndonagh.

Councillor Nicholas Crossan told the meeting the people of Linsfort weren’t opposed to the oyster farm, but were to its location,

He said they were looking to answers to a number of questions, proposing a letter be sent to the Department on behalf of the Inishowen Municipal District.

This was seconded by Colr Rena Donaghey, who said there was a “public outcry” about the location of the farm.

She said local people had “nothing against oyster farming” or the developers but were concerned at its location.

She pointed out how there were oyster farms in Inch and Newtowncunningham, which were “very successful” and did not spark complaints.

Colr Donaghey said the oyster farm was not making “best use” of the “asset” that is Linsfort beach.

She said she contacted the department and was told: “Thank God we got a licence through, because I know no licences had been granted in a long, long time,”

Colr Donaghey said because the oyster farm was below the high water mark, Donegal County Council had “very little of a say in it.”

She said people in the area were not aware of the application before it was granted, adding that while it was available for viewing at a Garda station, but no-one knew it was there.

Colr Albert Doherty said he had been advised the onus was on the department that a planning section of a county council is made aware of any application received and that it is consulted. He said that, to date, Donegal County Council had no records of consultation.

Councillor John Ryan agreed and said Donegal County Council should have been contacted in relation to consultation before the application was granted. He said they needed to speak to the office of Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney “to see what was the scenario.”

“Were there breaches of protocol and if not, let this be known,” he said.

Councillor Crossan said if there were breaches in protocol in relation to the application, the minister had the right to rescind the licence.

The company behind the development last week told the ‘Journal’ they wished to address “misleading information” given to the public. Derek and Sharon Diver said that when applying for the licence, they had “followed all the correct procedures” as stipulated by the Department of the Marine. They added they would not be extending the farm to Stragill beach.