‘Save Linsfort Beach’ initiate legal action

Over 300 people attended a protest at Linsfort beach.
Over 300 people attended a protest at Linsfort beach.

The Save Linsfort Beach group, whose members have been protesting against an oyster farm, have announced they have initiated legal action.

In a statement, the group confirmed they have engaged the services of PA Dorrian and Company, who have consulted junior and senior counsel.

The challenge will be against the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and “the exercise of his duties against Donegal County Council in relation to planning procedures.”

In the statement, the group also criticise Minister Joe McHugh for not responding to the group.

They state: “The failure of our local Junior Minister to respond to correspondence of the group has serious implications affecting the county of Donegal.

They added: “Right of access to the foreshore and beaches and the right of trespass will be protected in the interests of the public. These licences threaten landowner and public rights to access which much be preserved.”

The group confirmed the matter will be listed for the first available sittings of the High Court.

The Save Linsfort Beach group was set up in June after it emerged that permission had bene granted by the department for a 16 acre oyster farm at the location.

Concerns were expressed over the impact the trestles would have on the local area and that the application had been printed in a newspaper not widely circulated in Inishowen.

Those behind the campaign have stated they are not against the development but are to its location.

The campaign’s facebook page has garnered over 2,500 ‘likes’ and over 300 people attended a public protest was held at the beach in early August.

The owners of the farm itself, Crocknagee Oysters, based in Urris have said that when applying for their licence for the 420-acre farm, they followed all the correct procedures as laid out by the Department of the Marine. They added that the department expressly told them which newspaper to place the application in.

They said the oyster farm poses no threat to native oysters and pointed out their company employs 15 full-time and four part time staff in Inishowen. Earlier this month, there were allegations some employees had been subjected to verbal abuse with Donegal North East TD Padraig MacLochlainn calling upon anyone who may have been doing so to “direct their frustrations to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.” In July, Inishowen’s Municipal District councillors opted to write to the Minister in relation to the granting of the licence.