A busy scene at Clogherhead Harbour yesterday but there are as many boats out of the water as in it. Photo: Andy Spearman.
Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham has said that Braymore Wind Farm should ‘think again’ about siting their proposed Wind Farm off the coast of County Louth. He says the fishing industry has already been decimated so what is left of it, needs to be protected.
Councillor Cunningham was speaking at a recent presentation to Louth County Councillors by Braymore Wind farm who are proposing to build a wind farm near Clogherhead right on what Cllr Cunningham describes as ‘valuable prawn grounds.’
Cunningham agreed that “while wind farms are the way forward in minimising our dependence on fossil fuels, this can not and must not be at the expenses of the fishing industry and their livelihoods.
“Unfortunately, after years of neglect by successive governments, the Irish fishing industry has been decimated so what is left of it, needs to be protected.
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“The area in which Braymore Wind Farm is proposing to put this wind farm is very valuable prawn grounds, not only to the fishermen in Clogherhead but to those in Skerries, Balbriggan and Howth” he said.
“What is happening at the minute is due to the rising cost of fuel, the prawn fishermen are depending on working in this area which is close to home, in order to make a living. They will simply not be able to move from these valuable grounds for a number of years to make way for the construction of a windfarm.
“Even after the windfarm has been completed, would it be possible for the fishermen to return to these grounds bearing in mind that they need to be able to navigate the area with their nets?”
The Braymore Wind Farm presentation spoke of increased employment in the area but Councillor Cunningham said that “any benefits in the area of employment would be negated by the loss of employment and livelihoods in the local fishing industry.”
Cunningham was a part of a delegation that has recently returned from the European Parliament where he, several Sinn Féin TDs and Irish fishing representatives met with Charlina Vitcheva, the director-general for maritime and fisheries, and other MEPs. The meeting was very positive especially around unused quotas allocated to foreign fishing fleets being returned to Ireland.
“The fishing representatives felt they were listened to in Europe and that Europe understood their issues, now it’s time that people at home, like the Irish Government and Braymore Wind Farm listened as well and give more consideration to our fishing industry” Cllr Cunningham said.