BY MARTIN WALSH
LOCAL residents, business interests, sports clubs and politicians are united in their opposition to a plan by a French company to develop an oyster farm at Ring in Clonakilty Bay.
At an outdoor meeting on Ring Pier last Saturday evening last, local FF TD Christopher O’Sullivan said:‘It’s quite a small estuary, this development (oyster farm) will take up the equivalent of 30 football pitches, which is absolutely huge. This is not just going to be a visual eyesore, Ring is one of the main tourist attractions around the Clonakilty area and West Cork.
‘This development will have a massive negative impact on the local ecology.’
Cllr John O’Sullivan said: ‘As far as I’m concerned, this is raping the bay and I could not support it.
‘The other unsatisfactory element is that there is no timescale, no deadlines, this could take up to 18 months before people know – that is unacceptable, to leave this community in fear for that length of time.’
Fellow Cllr Paul Hayes said it made no sense whatsoever. ‘Nothing stacks up,’ he said ‘and this is a total misfit for the area. The way the community has responded is terrific and we are happy to stand with them.’
The plan also has implications for Ring Rowing Club, spokesperson Marguerite Deasy said. ‘It will have a huge impact on our rowing club. We have over 100 members, we train four to five times a week and this is also where, for the last 30 years, we have held our regatta.’
Deputy O’Sullivan has written to the Department of Agriculture to voice his objection.
‘Clonakilty Bay, Ring Village and Inchydoney are among the most special places on Earth. They were my playground as a kid and today they continue to inspire and fulfil my love of nature and wildlife.
‘One of the things that makes the harbour so beautiful is the abundance of waders like the black-tailed godwit, dunlin and the critically-endangered curlew, which use this exact area of the bay for feeding and roosting.
‘It’s also a well-known roosting area for gulls and terns. This proposal, if it’s followed through, will cause their displacement,’ he said.