The Inishowen company running an oyster farm at Linsfort beach have said they wish to meet with campaigners calling for the withdrawal of its planning permission in order to “address any concerns.”
‘Save Linsfort Beach’ was set up last week by a group of local people, who have expressed concerns over a 16 hectare oyster farm at the location.
The campaign, which has received over 1,200 ‘likes’ on facebook, has expressed concerns over the impact the oyster trestles will have on the local area, stating they are an ‘eyesore’ which prevents locals and visitors from using the beach .
They said they are also concerned that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine granted ten-year permission for the trestles, allegedly, “without proper public consultation.”
On Sunday, the group set up an online petition, calling on the Department to withdraw the permission, which, to date, has been signed 250 times.
One of the campaign group members yesterday told the ‘Journal’ they had “nothing personal against the developers, nor enterprise or employment,” but said their campaign was about the “decimation of the coastline of Inishowen, where people go to swim and walk and have been enjoying for generations.
“With one stoke of a pen, this was gone,” said the spokesperson, who said their campaign is being backed as far away as Canada and Australia.
They added that the permission for the development raises questions over planning for these types of structures nationwide.
In response, the company behind the oyster farm, Crocknagee Oysters, which is based in Inishowen, said it had not been contacted by anyone behind the campaign but would be willing to meet with them in order to ‘address the concerns they have.’
The campaign group also confirmed they would be happy to do so if the company contacted them by messaging their facebook page.
Crocknagee Oysters told the ‘Journal’ they had applied for and been granted the licence by following all procedures as laid out and required by the Department.
Crocknagee Oysters is run by Derek and Sharon Diver as a “family-run” business and was set up over 25 years ago by Derek’s late father, Paddy.
The company currently employs 15 full-time and four part-time members of staff.
They told the ‘Journal’ the licensing application process took over a year, with two notices appearing in a “local” Donegal paper, which was directed by the Department in line with its nationwide procedure.
The company said that in order to grow oysters, they are submerged most of the time “under water” and are only accessible during the “lower tides” of the month when they are worked.
They added that, in this regard, they are situated along the lower shoreline, “nowhere near” the high water mark and should not interfere with anyone walking along the shore.
Mr and Mrs Diver told the ‘Journal’ that Sharon is a native of Stragill and “knows and loves the area,” with the family using and walking the beach regularly.
The ‘Journal’ also contacted the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine which indicated a response would be forwarded later in the week.