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Displaying items by tag: Inis Oírr

#IslandNews - A new pier for Inis Oírr in the Aran Islands is now on the cards, as Galway Bay FM reports.

Minister of State Joe McHugh announced funding of €330,000 to appoint consultant engineers for the design and construction tender phase.

The news comes after it was announced earlier this month that €225,000 has been ringfenced for harbour projects throughout Co Galway.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#MCIB - Lack of safety management contributed to an incident in which two people fell into the water while disembarking from a ferry at Inis Oírr Pier last summer.

That’s according to the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report on the event that involved the passenger ferry Rose of Aran on 6 June 2016.

Two passengers disembarking the ferry that morning, a man and a woman, were treated for shock after entering the water when the gangway slipped off the quayside.

It emerged that the stern line holding the Rose of Aran at its berth, fastened by a bystander and not checked by crew at the bow lines, had come loose at some point after passengers began disembarking.

The stern line is not immediately visible from the boat’s wheelhouse — a situation made worse by crowds on the pier at the time blocking the already obscured view.

Upon noticing that the boat was drifting, the master attempted to move it back into position, but it was pushed away by wash from the engines of the boat moored astern, causing the gangway to slip.

In its analysis, the MCIB determined that the Liscannor Ferry Company, which operates the Rose of Arran, operated with a safety management system, or SMS, that “lacked specific risk assessments and standard operating procedures for berthing at the various piers and harbours used” by its vessels.

The SMS also lacked a ‘Man Overboard’ situation among its emergency drills. As a result, the crew “were not trained or prepared for recovery procedures within the confines of the harbour.

“The recovery of the casualties would not have occurred without people on the shore entering the water and assisting them to shore,” it added.

But the MCIB also took Galway County Council to task for the lack of bye-laws, or a harbour master, to govern operations at Inis Oírr Pier, which allows vessels to berth with engines running and regularly experiences overcrowding that “hinders the safe berthing of ferries”.

The full MCIB report can be downloaded below.

Published in MCIB

#MarineWildlife - Dusty the dolphin earned a measure of infamy in previous years after attacking a number of bathers at her former home in Doolin.

But the Wild Atlantic Way’s other resident bottlenose – after Dingle's celebrated Fungie – was in a much more agreeable mood in recent days, as a new video captured by visitor Elaine Farrell shows her adorable encounter with a snorkeller at Inis Oírr.

Dusty appears perfectly calm as she rolls over in the water for a belly rub from the diver, who was perched at the stern of a boat moored in the Aran Islands harbour.

However, as cute as that encounter might be, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s Dr Simon Berrow warns that Dusty and other dolphins like her are still wild animals — and getting close to them can be dangerous.

“Our advice would be: don’t swim with the dolphins,” he said, adding: “Respect their distance and don’t do anything stupid. It’s hard to know what will set off aggressive behaviour.”

Elsewhere, video from the Copeland Islands off Donagahdee show a lazy seal taking it easy on a dinghy moored off the Irish coast recently.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#InisÓirr - The Aran Islands might typify traditional Ireland for many at home and abroad.

But it may surprise you to learn that one of Ireland's most modern buildings can be found right at the entrance of Galway Bay on Inis Oírr.

Writing in The Irish Times, Gemma Tipton describes Brigid Keane's two-storey house on the island, with views across to the Cliffs of Moher, as "an excellent example of what a new generation of architecture might look like".

Indeed, the thoroughly forward-looking design, completed in 2013, has just been showcased at the BAU building and architecture fair in Germany – the place that provided inspiration for its unusual choice of material.

Poroton monolithic clay blocks are still a novelty in Ireland as an ecological building material, but in Germany they're "now a mainstream product" says architect Patti O'Neill.

And they're just the thing for this island's often rain-sodden climate, absorbing moisture without resulting in damp.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#FishFarm - RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland reports on last night's public meeting in Galway on the proposed deep sea fish farm in Galway Bay.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 500-hectare organic salmon farm proposed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) would be located off Inis Oírr in the Aran Islands, and would be the largest of its kind in Europe, set to double the State's production rate of organic salmon.

BIM's aquaculture development manager Donal McGuire moved to reassure concerned locals that the agency was "not about to damage [its] reputation" by "doing something foolish or doing something that will cause serious environmental damage".

McGuire added that organic salmon is Ireland's leading organic food export but is in "very very short supply", and that business would be lost to producers in Scotland and Norway.

However, the scheme has faced strong opposition from fisheries groups and local anglers citing the potential environmental impact on wild salmon numbers and the threat to tourism in the area.

At last night's meeting, RTE's western correspondent Pat McGrath says just two of the more than 100 in attendance spoke in support of the fish farm plans.

Another public meeting on the proposals is scheduled for tonight in Rossaveal.

BIM is expected to hold a public tender process for the proposed salmon farm project pending approval by Marine Minister Simon Coveney.

Published in Fishing

#Angling - Anglers on the River Feale in Kerry and Limerick have been assured by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) that it supports their concerns over the proposed deep-sea fish farm in Galway Bay, as the Limerick Leader reports.

Local anglers are among those throughout the region who have rallied in opposition to plans for the Aran Islands fish farm project, over fears that it would lead to “an explosion” in parasitic sea lice which would prey on wild inland salmon from Irish rivers feeding in the North Atlantic.

IFI reiterated its statement issued last month in which its board said it does not believe "that the corpus of peer reviewed international scientific literature which recognises the negative impacts of sea lice on salmonids have been adequately dealt with" in the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) as part of the public consultation process.

A spokesperson for IFI told the Limerick Leader that the authority has "major concerns about the location and scale [of the farm], as well as its potential impact on sea life. [IFI] is not supporting it in its current form.”

Earlier this month the National Inland Fisheries Forum also criticised as "flawed" the consent process regarding the 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm planned off Inis Oirr, which would be the largest of its kind in Europe.

If approved, the operation could more than double Ireland's current production rate of farmed salmon.

The Limerick Leader has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#GALWAY FISH FARM - Environmental campaigners have retracted their accusation that Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) suppressed a report critical of the proposed deep-sea fish farm in Galway Bay.

The Galway Independent reports on a statement released by lobby group Friends of the Irish Environment, which claimed that BIM tried to hide the study by not posting it on its website along with other materials made available for the public consultation period.

The report in question was commissioned by Inland Fisheries Ireland and is critical of the Environmental Impact Statements carried out on the proposed location for the 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the salmon farm would be located on a 500-hectare site off Inis Oírr, and would be one of the largest of its kind in Europe, projected to be worth €103 million annually for the economy. The scheme has faced opposition from local anglers who fear it could have a negative impact on wild salmon numbers.

BIM strongly denied any wrongdoing, and the lobby group subsequently retracted its allegations upon learning that the IFI report had missed the deadline for submissions for the consultation.

“BIM certainly did not suppress or ignore or gloss over anything from IFI, because we never received anything," said a BIM spokesperson.

However, Friends of the Irish Environment now alleges that the IFI report was late due to a delay in their receipt of the Environmental Impact Statement from BIM.

The Galway Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour

#FISHING - The licence application for a proposed new deep-sea fish farm in the Aran Islands is expected to be lodged in January.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Bord Iascaigh Mhara's (BIM) planned 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm off Inis Oírr would be the largest of its kind in Europe, and would create hundreds of jobs in the area.

Commenting on the plans, Galway West Senator Fidelma Healy Eames said it was "a major opportunity for Galway and would represent a very significant economic boost for our coastal communities."

She added: "Deep sea fish farming has proven to be very economically beneficial in countries such as Norway, Chile and Scotland. It is timely that Ireland would capitalise on our fantastic marine resources as these countries have."

According to Healy Eames, the project is expected to "meet all environmental standards and will be barely visible from 2km away and effectively not visible from land.

"It would take up a negligible amount of inshore fisheries ground in the bay (0.22%) and would not interfere with existing fishing routes or Galway Bay ferry routes."

Published in Fishing

#FISHING - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has begun the consultation process for a proposed new deep-sea fish farm in the Aran Islands, The Irish Times reports.

The 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm would be located off Inis Oírr on a 500-hectare site in Galway Bay, and would be one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

Approval of the project could see the creation of 350 direct and 150 indirect jobs, says BIM. It will be owned by the body on behalf of the State but leased to operators on a franchise basis.

The scheme has been welcomed by Comhar Caomhán Inis Oírr, but the island co-op said it was important that a promised €8-million pier for the island is constructed first to provide the necessary infrastructure.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

The Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Pat Carey, T.D., has announced the launch of a report on the employment needs and the economic development potential of the islands. The economic consultants, FGS Consulting, were commissioned by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs to compile the report under the direction of a steering committee made up of representatives from Comhar na nOileán, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Department itself.  The report's recommendations relate to the following areas:

  • Issues related to the cost of living and to improving the islands' infrastructure;
  • Cost factors that prevent the establishment and operation of commercial enterprises on the islands;
  • The islands' development potential and the employment needs of island communities;
  • Recommendations regarding further targeted support measures which would be aimed at the promotion of sustainable development and job creation; and
  • The costs and advantages relating to any of the new measures recommended to support investment.

Minister Carey said that the Department would use the report as a basis for the development of further policies in relation to the islands in the coming years and that he hoped that some of the recommendations could be put in place in the short term at very little cost. He said, "We now intend to carry out a further examination of the various recommendations made in the report in consultation with other relevant Departments and state agencies to establish the most practical method of implementation."

A copy of the complete study is available on the Department's website www.pobail.ie.

Further Information:

The following is a list of the islands which were included in the study:

Island                                                 County                                   Population

Toraigh                                                Donegal                                   142

Árainn Mhór                                       Donegal                                   522

Clare Island                                         Mayo                                       136

Inishturk Island                                   Mayo                                       58

Inishbofin                                            Galway                                    199

Árainn                                                 Galway                                    824

Inis Meáin                                           Galway                                    154

Inis Oírr                                              Galway                                    247

Bear Island                                          Cork                                        187

Sherkin Island                                    Cork                                        106

Cléire                                                   Cork                                        125

Published in Coastal Notes

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