Donegal North East Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has welcomed confirmation from Garda Supt Kevin English that following a preliminary investigation of allegations that yachts in a storm were turned away from Greecastle Harbour, he has established no evidence that the alleged incidents took place. The investigation was requested by Deputy Mac Lochlainn.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn has also confirmed that no complaints about the alleged incidents have been received by either the Gardaí or the Harbour Master at Greencastle. He has now demanded an apology from “those who publicly sought to slur the name of inshore fishermen based at Greencastle Harbour”.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said: “These allegations, reported locally and nationally have caused real damage to the reputations of fishermen at Greencastle Harbour and the local tourist industry. It is now clear that these allegations were lies and in my view, a slur on those small fishermen.
He went on: “I am now calling on those who publicly made these claims and supported them including five Inishowen councillors to explain their actions. I accept that the councillors raised the issue, having been lobbied by those who made the allegations. However those councillors now have a responsibility to name and shame those individuals who spread these lies”.
In the row over plans for future developmentat the pier Deputy MacLochlainn said he had in his possession documentation that demonstrates the intentions of members of the Moville Boat Club to purchase up to 16 pontoons, then form a private company limited by guarantee (Foyle Marine Leisure Limited), and to place those pontoons at Greencastle harbour.
He said: “These plans are in contravention of Donegal County Council’s agreed framework for marine tourism, the Deloitte and Touche Marina Development Strategy. That strategy guided Donegal County Council how to best use their public resources to advance marine tourism and clearly identified Fahan Marina on Lough Swilly as the flagship marina for the North Donegal region with ample marine tourism provision. It is also not permissible for public money to be used to displace private investment under EU state aid rules.
“Therefore any suggestion from a private company to utilise millions of public investment at Greencastle to compete with the private investment at Fahan is clearly wrong.”
However, he was anxious to dispel the claim he was opposed to developments at Greencastle: “I wish to clearly state that as TD for Donegal North East, I am not opposed to a marina at Moville or Greencastle. If private investors wish to spend their own money on such a project, I will support it. I will not support unfairness and the plans of Moville Boat Club and Foyle Marine Leisure Ltd are clearly unfair to Fahan Marina”.
He concluded: “Visiting yachts or any sea faring vessel are of course entitled to berth at our piers, harbours, and ports when in difficulty. I am relieved that the message will now go out loud and clear that these allegations are false”.