A Ballina municipal district councillor has publicly voiced his regret at the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government’s recent decision to quash a foreshore licence for the installation of a transatlantic fibre optic cable spur in Mayo’s Clew Bay.
The licence had been granted for the Irish section of a multi-million euro cable that is being developed between Denmark and the US by a consortium that includes Google and Facebook
The Irish spur of the project is known as America Europe Connect 2. It was to make landfall at Old Head in Louisburgh but a Clare Island fisherman challenged the foreshore licence, highlighting that the route through Clew Bay is sensitive in terms of both fishing and habitat.
The quashing of the licence several weeks ago resulted in the legal proceedings being adjourned to this month to allow for further consideration as to whether a further foreshore licence should be granted. The developer agreed to put a stay on any works in Clew Bay in the interim.
Cllr Mark Duffy highlighted the matter at a meeting of Mayo Co Council on June 9 last.
He told the Western People that a similar cable laid in Killala Bay did not appear to have impacted fishing or habitat.
Such projects need to be viewed in the context of their national value, he continued, arguing that they have the potential to create hundreds of jobs.
Mr Duffy is urging Mayo’s Dáil representatives to help resolve the matter.