As the Deputy is aware, my Department considers applications for aquaculture licences in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable EU legislation. The licensing process involves consultation with a wide range of scientific and technical advisers as well as various Statutory Consultees. The legislation also provides for a period of public consultation.
In addition, the legislation governing aquaculture licensing provides for an appeals mechanism.
Appeals against licence decisions are a matter for the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB) which is an independent statutory body. Full details of the appeals process can be obtained at: www.alab.ie/appealsprocess/.
In accordance with the applicable legislation, the Statutory and Public Consultation phase in respect of the applications referred to by the Deputy is now concluded. Every effort is being made to expedite determinations in respect of these applications having regard to the complexities involved.
As these licence applications are under active consideration as part of a statutory process, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the matter at this time.