Cork County Council has been slammed for not giving its seal of approval to pier improvements on Cape Clear for fear of disturbing nearby marine mammals.
Séamus Ó’Drisceoil of the Cailín Óir Ferry Service has described claims that pile- driving at North Harbour could disturb nearby seal colonies as “farfetched”.
In responding to the application for planning permission to carry out remedial works at Duffy’s Pier, Cork County Council requested further information on the proposal, as well as a waste management plan, and said it was concerned that “the risk of impact of the works on marine mammals has not been assessed adequately in the submitted documentation”.
“The proposed works would require pile-driving which would cause subtidal noise, which is known to have the potential to cause significant behavioural disturbance to marine mammals at distances of several kilometres,” said the council.
“The works are located within 3km of a known grey seal breeding and moulting site at Calf Island and within 5km of a known grey seal breeding and moulting site at Carthy’s Island, and the works could have the potential to affect seals at these locations as well as cetaceans.”
Mr Ó Drisceoil said Cape Clear residents are “outraged” at the response.
“Islanders are outraged at the fact that something which poses a real risk to human beings will be allowed to exist for longer than necessary because of a near mythical risk to seals over two miles away,” he said.
“On behalf of our crew and the community we serve, we find this to be a pure outrage and hold whoever caused this personally responsible for anything that happens in the meantime.
“It’s almost beyond belief that something so farfetched was actually issued by a planning authority.”
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