Dáil Éireann - Volume 414 - 10 December, 1991
Written Answers. - Removal of Sand from Beaches.
Mrs. Fennell Mrs. Fennell
45. Mrs. Fennell asked the Minister for the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the fact that large amounts of sand are being removed from beaches for building and gardening purposes; and if he will outline the measures he is taking to end this practice.
Minister for the Marine (Mr. Wilson) John P. Wilson
 Minister for the Marine (Mr. Wilson): I am aware that the practice of large scale removal of sand from beaches has increased substantially, in pace and scale, in recent years. Apart from direct amenity losses, such removals can have a deleterious impact on the seashore generally. It follows that the preservation and protection of our beaches and sea-shore is now an important environmental priority.
In accordance with the Government's environment action programme, my Department have been working on proposals for Government in this area. These proposals, which have been the subject of detailed consultations with other Departments, are designed to strengthen substantively the State's capacity to protect the foreshore and sea-shore. The approach envisaged includes the creation of appropriate offences and penalties in connection with unauthorised removals and will deal with the key question of the use of mechanical diggers and the like. I hope to have draft proposals for amending legislation to the Foreshore Act, 1933, ready for the Government's consideration early next year.
In the meantime I shall continue to deploy all the existing powers available to me under the 1933 Act to protect beaches from large scale depradations. Only where I am satisfied on the basis of consultation with, inter alia, local authorities that the removal involved would pose no threat to the local environment and is otherwise in the public interest, will licences be issued.
The serving of prohibitory notices or the making of prohibitory orders are additional control mechanisms at my disposal where the situation warrants. These will be utilised to the full as, for example, in the case of Ballybunion in County Kerry, and Donegal where a prohibitory order was made in 1990, and a licence to remove beach material was revoked by me earlier this year.
Dáil Éireann 414 Written Answers. Removal of Sand from Beaches.