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Photograph by John Kelly

Objector brands tranquillity moorings ‘a contradiction in terms’

TRANQUILITY moorings, which are planned by Waterways Ireland for the Clare section of Lough Derg, are the subject of a number of objections over concerns about their impact on wildlife and local amenities.

Last month, Waterways Ireland lodged applications to build moorings at three locations – Castle Bawn Bay, Ogonnelloe; at the mouth of the Scariff River; and on another site North West of Inis Cealtra, close to Knockaphort Jetty, around 130m from the lakeshore. At an active travel briefing for Clare last week, Regional Manager with Waterways Ireland, Éanna Roe explained that the moorings are being piloted on Lough Derg, with a view to enhancing the on-water experience for those using the Shannon.

Concerns over all three planning applications have now been lodged by the Lough Derg Anglers Association and by a member of The Golden Eagle Trust.

In their submission the anglers association described tranquillity moorings as “a contradiction in terms,” saying “tranquillity for humans causes disturbance for wildlife and habitats and will cause habitat modifications and species transloction”. The document also raised concerns about water and light pollution, as well as the possibility of people congregating at the moorings and using inflatables and jet skis. It also flagged fears about access for emergency services in the event of a serious incident.

A separate objection from Robert Foyle, a member of The Golden Eagle Trust, said the plans fail to take account of the activities of the White Tailed Sea Eagle (WTSE) Re-introduction Programme. Mr Foyle also described himself as someone with 50 years sailing experience and raised concerns that “unsafe, unregulated” moorings could create a hazard on the lake. He cited a large number of call-outs responded to by the RNLI and contended that there is “enough confusion already for inexperienced novices in hire cruisers and new cruiser owners

Separately, the mooring proposed for Castle Bawn is the subject of a submission from the owner of the nearby lakeshore, which he said would be impacted by the project.

“I would object very strongly to such a project,” the letter of objection stated, “as I think it totally unnecessary, foolish, dangerous and determinantal to the environment”. The writer has told county planners that he lives in the area and manages it “as a nature reserve and natural heritage area”.

Consultants who worked on the applications for the three moorings noted that Lough Derg is currently used for recreational boating, mainly during the summer months. “Casual boat mooring occurs within quieter inlets outside of the existing navigational markers, with boats dropping anchor near parts of the shoreline,” they said. “The proposed development aims to formalise mooring facilities in these areas, but discourage more casual mooring closer to the lake shore.”

Detailed Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Natura Impact Assessments (NIA) have been submitted with each application. The objector has told planners he will familiarise himself with their contents and forward a more detailed inventory of his concerns.

Waterways Ireland is responsible for the management, development and restoration of Ireland’s navigable waterway systems, north and south, principally for recreational purposes.

The water-based areas of the sites in question are in the ownership of, and maintained by, Waterways Ireland. The applications state that the moorings have been proposed with reference to the Inis Cealtra Vistior Management and Sustainable Tourism Development Plan, the Lough Derg Blueway and the Lough Derg Canoe Trail.

Clare County Council has indicated a decision on the applications may be made later this month.

 

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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