Irish lights accused of ‘vandalism'
The famous ‘Colt Rock' - a rock in the western part of Castletown's harbour with an iconic cut out sign of a young horse mounted on it many years ago - is scheduled for felling today. It was only in the last few days that some residents became aware of the plans of Irish Lights to ‘light' the rock with a navigation light to increase safety. Irish Lights have stated that in order to do this, the sign will be cut down.
There is great outrage over this plan as the sign is a local icon and a good luck token for the fishing community and dates back beyond living memory.
Irish Lights, who have behaved towards us with the greatest arrogance and condescension, informed us that the required Notice to Mariners was issued six weeks ago. This was not true. Minister of State Tony Killeen contacted us late Tuesday night with a copy of the notice. It was issued Monday evening, the day after we first approached Irish Lights. It gives 8 October as the day of the felling.
Rockchapple in the north Cork Mountains is already known as the Sitka spruce capital of Ireland. Now, developers who already have permission for wind turbines in these mountains are seeking to construct a further 13. They have split these into two applications, doubling the costs for objectors.
FIE is grateful to the anonymous correspondent who provided an excellent submission but who, as with so many in Ireland, felt unable to object in public.
The proposed site is located in a designated Special Protection Area for the hen harrier. This developer already has permission for nearby turbines - but only on condition that a study on the interaction of the turbines and hen harriers was carried out on site.
As this wind farm is not yet constructed the study can not be done.
Thus the cumulative impact of these developments on the range and scale of foraging areas critical to the survival of the Hen harrier remains unknown. To grant permission now risks a developer investing in a multi-million development and subsequently being required to cease
FIE's extensive objection to the proposed location of the RNLI Lifeboat station at Castletownbere does not object to the project itself.
But the location ignores the most congested traffic pattern on the Bearhaven peninsula. FIE submission says it is ‘inexplicable' that a development relating to emergency services could ‘even be considered at this location', citing both the County Development Plan 2009 and the Bantry Area Local Plan 2005.
FIE draws attention to the Government's long standing primary goal of relocating all port-based activities on the adjacent Dinish Island, an infill island developed by the State for the marine sector with excellent access for emergency vehicles, including helicopters, close proximity to the hospital and no traffic congestion.
FOR WEDNESDAY 29 JULY 2009
OBJECTION TO ‘INEXPLICABLE' LIFEBOAT STATION LOCATION
An extensive objection has been lodged by a local environmental group to the proposed location of the RNLI Lifeboat station at Castletownbere, Co. Cork.
The station is proposed on recently reclaimed land beside the Bere Island Ferry jetty.
The group's submission emphasies that it has no objection to the project itself but claims that the location ignores the ‘the most congested traffic pattern on the Bearhaven peninsula'.
The submission refers to the ‘ill-ordered and unmonitored parking, turning, and transit area which extends from the SuperValu corner across the parking area to the quay edge'. FIE claims ‘Uncontrolled traffic jams are frequent and prolonged as articulated lorries servicing the fishing industry on the contiguous Mainland Quay vie with traffic, pedestrians shopping trolleys, wheelchairs accessing disable parking, local mini-bus services and those waiting for (or at) the telephone boxes.
The group submission says it is ‘inexplicable' that a development relating to emergency services could ‘even be considered at this location', citing both the County Development Plan and the Bantry Area Local Plan, attaching an aerial view of the traffic pattern.
The group draws attention to the Government's ‘long standing primary goal of relocating all port-based activities on the adjacent Dinish Island, an infill island developed by the State for the marine sector with excellent access for emergency vehicles, including helicopters, close proximity to the hospital and no traffic congestion.'
FIE also suggests that the floating pontoon proposed is not included in the application and has not been assessed for its impact, drawing attention to the jurisdictional issues raised in the Tribunal Report on the Disaster at Whiddy Island.
Finally, the submission suggest the proposal would ‘entirely obscure the passive open space and park-like marine views of the Harbor and Bere Island seldom equaled in the seaside towns of West Cork.'
Friends of the Irish Environment is a national non-government organization founded in 1997 with its offices at Allihies, County Cork.
Tony Lowes, 027 74771 / 087 2176316