MacLochlainn asks Coveney: Where’s the public interest here?

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Donegal North East TD, Padraig MacLochlainn has contacted Marine Minister Simon Coveney to seek an explanation for the ‘logic’ behind the department’s decision to again go to the courts to prevent the developer of the Fahan Marina, JJ McDaid, going ahead with work at the site.

Contacting the media this week Deputy MacLochlainn said an element not addressed in his letter but that he wish to add for public record was that Lough Swilly Marina was ‘almost entirely vindicated’ by Judge McKechnie’s High Court ruling after a number of years of legal wranglings that exposed Mr. McDaid and his family to ‘potentially devastating financial costs’.

The Inishowen TD said: “Once again that cloud hangs over them yet those in this government department who are pursuing this action for no apparent public interest are exposed to no personal financial cost or personal sanction if they are wrong, as has been already proven by the High Court and may well be proven again at the Supreme Court appeal.

“I view this to be contrary to natural justice and worthy of an explanation by the Minister.

The full text of Deputy MacLochlainn’s letter to the Minister was as follows:

“Dear Minister Coveney,

“I am deeply alarmed to learn that your Department have recently taken further legal measures to curtail the work of Lough Swilly Marina, Co. Donegal. Despite many hurdles along the way, the directors of Lough Swilly Marina have managed to establish a marina with over 200 berths at Fahan, Co. Donegal. This is now a very important part of Donegal’s marine tourism infrastructure.

“Can you advise me as a local TD what the rationale for further delaying the next exciting steps for that marina is? What local or national economic or tourism interest is served? What rules or regulations have the directors of Lough Swilly Marina not adhered to that was not resolved by Judge McKechnie’s High Court ruling?

“The facts are that both Donegal County Council and your department have collectively spent millions of euro over the last decade either pursuing publicly funded marinas in Donegal that have never came to fruition or doing all in their power to close down the one marina that has actually become a reality.

“This defies all logic and in my view cannot be in the public interest.”