I propose to take Questions Nos. 1405 and 1406 together.
My Department considers all applications for aquaculture licences in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable national and 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 accordance with applicable legislation, notice of the applications in Ballyness Bay were published by the applicants in the Donegal Democrat on various dates between 14th of March and the 26th of March. From the publication date of the relevant Notice, the public had four weeks to make written submissions or observations to my Department on the applications specified in that Notice. During that time, the application documentation was available for inspection in the Garda Stations specified in the Public Notices and on the Department’s website.
The legislative requirements governing Aquaculture Licensing are adhered to fully by my Department.
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: http://www.alab.ie/appealsprocess/.
As these applications are currently under consideration by my Department as part of a statutory process, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the specific applications at this time.