Bord Iascaigh Mhara's ambitious proposal off the Aran Islands for a 500-hectare organic salmon farm – which would be the largest of its kind in Europe – was pushed back over a year ago amid protests from angling and community groups opposed to the scheme, and concerns from the EU over its environmental impact.
It is now one of a whopping 600 applications for aquaculture licences of various scopes under consideration by the minister.
Many of these are said to have been in the system for more than five years – costing the State some €60 million in investment opportunities, as the Irish Farmers' Association claims.
Discussing his department's plans for aquaculture in replies to Dáil questions this week, Minister Coveney maintained there is a "strict separation" between his role as "decision maker" and his duty to promote development in the industry.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.