Dáil Éireann - Volume 533 - 28 March, 2001

Written Answers. - Special Areas of Conservation.

156. Mr. Spring asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the reason she considers a golf course development in County Kerry (details supplied) to be an [1038] unauthorised development as stated in Parliamentary Question No. 172 of 30 June 1999; the current status of the injunction which her Department sought and was granted against a golf course development in County Donegal (details supplied); if the said injunction is still in place; and, if not, the change in circumstances which led to the lifting of the said injunction. [9181/01]

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): The Deputy will be aware that the proposed golf course in County Kerry, is situated in a candidate special area of conservation (SAC). The EU Habitats Directive requires the State to protect and conserve the ecological integrity of sand dune habitats. On consideration of the plan for the proposed golf course, the scientific advice was that it would damage habitats in the SAC. The Deputy will also be aware that works had commenced, which constituted a “notifiable action” under the Natural Habitats Regulations, 1997, without my written consent, and were, therefore, unauthorised. My Department secured an injunction to prevent any further damage.

Similarly, an injunction had been taken out in respect of the proposed golf course in County Donegal, which is also located in a candidate SAC. This site was the subject of an appeal to the SAC Appeals Advisory Board, chaired by former Ombudsman, Mr. Michael Mills, which was established by me to provide a forum for people who wished to appeal on scientific grounds against the designation of their lands as SACs. Following acceptance by me of a recommendation from the SAC Appeals Advisory Board, and following provision by the developer of an undertaking not to commence any works prior to agreement with my Department on a management plan and to comply with all obligations and requirements under the Natural Habitats Regulations, 1997, the injunction was lifted by the court.