WITH major plans for development on the Shannon Estuary, Kilrush based Councillor Ian Lynch has sought to ensure that private interests don’t decide how the assets of Clare are best used.
At this week’s meeting of West and North Clare councillors he put forward a motion proposing the establishment of committees that would make sure things move in the right direction, with integrated planning.
On protecting the Estuary, he said it doesn’t belong to the ESB or any other body.
“Unless we as a local authority step up to protect that asset we will lose it, and I mean lose it in a terrible way. We will lose it environmentally and economically.”
He added, “We can’t sit and let businesses there to make money dictate to us how the natural assets of that area will be developed for the people of the county.”
Explaining the type of problem that could arise, he said, “One of the concerns from speaking to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group is the level of noise.
“Any one facility on its own won’t cause a problem, but when two or three start up that noise level will reach a point where further development is constrained. A very open and honest conversation at this stage has to be had. Not just with the ESB, Aughinish are in for planning permission, LNG are on about doing stuff, Foynes are on about windfarm stuff, there’s a huge amount of potential development here,” the councillor outlined.
“But if we allow any one group to run away with it, we could hamper the development of the whole estuary. I think it’s important that we go through what the constraints are, and see how we can come up with a methodology,” Councillor Lynch concluded.
Councillor Joe Killeen agreed it was essential that the public not be sidelined.
“I think we need to keep our eye on the ball and provide through a task force, a focal point for consultation with other potential industries and developers, and control our own situation, to the benefit of the West Clare community.”
By Owen Ryan