A former Mayor of County Galway is calling on the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the financial outlay, and process employed, by Bord Iascaigh Mhara to promote the construction of a 15,000 tonnes Salmon Farm in Galway Bay in close proximity to Inis Oírr.
Cllr Thomas Welby is calling for this investigation in light of the European Commission reopening its investigation of irregularities in relation to the alleged withholding of information by the Department of Agriculture regarding the environmental effects of fish farms.
“Serious question marks have been raised locally as to the impact the proposed development would have on the wild stock and the recreational fishing industry but senior personnel in BIM have been trying to ridicule and discredit opponents of the project,” said the independent councillor for the Connemara electoral area.
Cllr Welby has hit out at remarks made by Jason Whooley CEO of BIM in last week’s issue of the Galway Independent, where he criticised “a small cadre of people with a particular sectoral interest, using fair means and foul, to block the creation of much-needed jobs in today’s Ireland”.
“Now the European Commission has reopened the enquiry because a small cadre of people in BIM tried to suppress vital information from another state agency,” remarked Cllr Welby.
Cllr Welby said he had previously written to Minister Simon Coveney in relation to deficiencies in the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the Galway Bay project. The EIS made no reference to the Amoebic Gill Disease, a disease which has to be treated by bathing the diseased fish in fresh water, or the treatment, a process that would require huge amounts of fresh water.
Cllr Welby says he has now written to the Chairman of the PAC, John McGuinness TD, and a member of the committee, local TD Derek Nolan, to urge them to seriously grill the people responsible for what he has called a “wanton waste of public money”.