17th July

Small islands thinking big

Ireland was represented at the ESIN/European Small Islands Federation AGM and seminar (Sept 11-13) on the Orkney Islands by two members of Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann: John Walsh, Bere Island (Co Cork) and Mairtin O Méalóid, Oileán Chléire (Co Cork).

ESIN Orkney

The graveyard at Orphir Round Kirk, Orkney. Photo John Walsh

"Small islands are 'the agents of change' that can be trusted to make the low carbon revolution happen in Europe," declared Brendan Devlin, special advisor to DG Energy.

Read more: Small islands thinking big

Think safety first, advises Irish Water Safety

Lifeguards have rescued 185 casualties from Ireland’s beaches, rivers and lakes since June. Over 200 children were lost and reunited with their parents and a further 16,316 accidents were prevented by the proactive actions of the lifeguards.

IWS Sandycove

Bathers enjoying summer sunshine at Sandycove, Co Dublin

John Leech, chief executive of Irish Water Safety, is again urging the public to use Local Authority manned lifeguarded bathing places; to swim between the flags; to take heed of lifeguard advice and to always supervise children as lifeguards are not a babysitting service. He is also urging the public to swim within their depth if no lifeguards are at a bathing place and to never swim alone. 

Read more: Think safety first, advises Irish Water Safety

Insomnia founder to chair all-island tourism initiative

The Great Lighthouses of Ireland partnership developed by the Commissioners of Irish Lights has appointed Insomnia chair, entrepreneur and tv/radio personality, Bobby Kerr, as its independent chairman.

Welcoming the appointment, Irish Lights chief executive Yvonne Shields said Kerr's background and experience would be of "huge value" in guiding and informing their future work plans and objectives. The twelve GLI sites (visitor and accommodation combined) attracted 135,000 visitors in 2016.

GLI Kerr

GLI newly appointed chairman Bobby Kerr on-board  ILV Granuaile at Seafest 2017, Galway. Photo Andrew Downes

GLI has agreed a marketing and development strategy to 2020 with the aim of increasing visitor numbers and growing revenue. 

Read more: Insomnia founder to chair all-island tourism initiative

Licence to mechanically harvest kelp out of line with spirit of Bantry Bay charter

A licence to mechanically harvest 752 hectares of kelp in Bantry Bay, West Cork, described as the largest ever granted in Irish or UK waters, has been met with widespread opposition from fishermen, conservationists and local interests.

In March 2014, biotechnology company BioAtlantis was granted a Foreshore Licence to harvest ‘specific quantities of specific species of seaweed’ on a rotational basis. The licenced area is split into five harvesting zones, to be harvested on a four-year rotation with a stand by zone (99 hectares) only to be harvested if weather is adverse.

Bantry Bay map

Concern centres on a lack of adequate public consultation and notification, and the fact no Environmental Impact Assessment was required. Since the application was made in 2009, amendments were made to the legislation in 2014 regarding type and characteristic of projects that require EIA.

Read more: Licence to mechanically harvest kelp out of line with spirit of Bantry Bay charter

Shine a Light on Irish lighthouses 2017

SATURDAY 29 APRIL - MONDAY MAY 1

The May Bank Holiday weekend kick-starts the 2017 Great Lighthouses of Ireland Festival.

From Hook (Co Wexford) to Loop (Co Clare) and the islands of Rathlin (Co Antrim) to Valentia and Ballycotton on the south coast, lighthouses around the coast are opening their doors for a weekend of discovery, stories and music.

 GLI Fanad

Fanad, Co Donegal

According to Lonely Planet, Hook Head lighthouse is the No 1 flashiest lighthouse in the world... Learn about the maritime history of Ireland's Ancient East at a Pirate school taught by Capt Hook and Pirate Pat; relax with a tour of the lighthouse or try your hand at one of the lawn games!

Read more: Shine a Light on Irish lighthouses 2017

The future of Irish island communities

Brian O'Riordan, LIFE Platform

With fair access to fisheries, Irish island communities could thrive. Their geographical isolation makes them highly dependent on the resources available within their localities, especially fisheries resources.

The right to fish, and to access fishery resources are prerequisite to the prosperity and very survival of such island communities. Banning islanders from the sea and fishing is to take away their lifeblood. But that is what the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is being misused to achieve.

Inis Toirc

Islands such as Inis Toric are heavily reliant on local resources, such as fisheries, for their economic survival 

Irish island communities are no longer allowed to carry out their traditional seasonally diverse fishing ways of life, but must focus on one or two 'non-quota' species the year round. Not only does this put a strain on these resources, but fishers must also face the prospects of their gears being towed away by supertrawlers that are allowed to fish with impunity in their waters, and to catch quota species they are barred from catching.

Read more: The future of Irish island communities

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