A FREEDOM of information request for the minutes of a meeting that took place between the Taoiseach, Minister Coveney, and senior government officials with Marine Harvest on 30 January has caused concern amongst parties opposed to proposals for a salmon farm off Inis Óirr.
The minutes reveal that An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Simon Coveney made an agreement with Alf-Helge Åarskog, CEO of Marine Harvest to move forward with ‘the deep sea initiative’ in Galway Bay, reports the Galway Advertiser.
The proposed 1,126-acre, 15,000-tonne, open caged salmon farm is opposed by many anglers, environmentalists and others, and this meeting is seen by many to suggest that the Irish government is effectively acting as an agent for Marine Harvest.
‘[It is] incredulous that the Taoiseach and Minister would be openly discussing how they can put systems in place to facilitate one company,’ said Independent Connemara councillor, Thomas Welby.
He also voiced concern that there was a conflict of interest at the meeting in respect of Minister Coveney, who has final responsibility for granting the application and who, in 2013, stated that he ‘must separate myself from the project to the extent that I need an independent decision’.