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‘Brainwashing bus should not be allowed to target children'

April 19th, 2019 7:15 AM

By Brian Moore

The Aquaculture Remote Classroom (ARC) has been described by some as ‘a propaganda machine for the fish farming lobby' and was recently due to visit Bantry.

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THE prospect of a demonstration has forced the cancellation a visit by aquaculture experts to a local national school.

The Aquaculture Remote Classroom (ARC) ARC, which is a mobile classroom that has been designed to raise young people’s awareness of aquaculture, was scheduled to arrive at Comhoola National School on Tuesday morning.

However, an announcement by the Save Bantry Bay group, who are fighting to halt the construction of further salmon farming facilities in Bantry Bay, indicating that they would protest against the ARC’s arrival, saw the visit cancelled.

‘Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) was advised by a local school in Cork of a cancellation of the Aquaculture Remote Classroom ( ARC). The decision was made due to a suggestion a protest was to take place outside the school,’ a BIM spokesperson  told The Southern Star.

Alec O’Donovan of the Save Bantry Bay group said that they would have no problem if the parents of the children were also present but that this was aimed at young children who would not know of the underlining problems with intensive aquaculture.

‘This is nothing but a Brainwashing Bus,’ Mr O’Donovan said.

‘We would have had no intention of causing any disruption at the school but this is nothing but a propaganda machine for the fish farming lobby and it should not be permitted to target young children like this.’

The spokesperson for BIM said that the ARC was first presented at the primary school principals’ conference.

‘The mobile classroom was presented at a primary school principals’ conference earlier this year and is booked directly by schools and the ARC’s interactive programme includes historical, geographical and socio-economic modules on aquaculture.’

They added: ‘EU aquaculture adheres to strict environmental and consumer protection standards so that seafood farmed in the EU is sustainable, fresh, safe and easily traceable.’

The ARC began visiting schools in January and to date more than 20 schools have participated in the interactive classroom.

The spokesperson said that while no other bookings have been made by Cork schools, the ARC is open to bookings from schools nationwide.

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