Friday, 13th September 2019
Press statement by Hildegarde Naughton TD
Fine Gael, Galway West and South Mayo
Fine Gael TD for Galway West, Deputy Hildegarde Naughton, has welcomed the decision of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, to refuse to grant a licence for mineral exploration in Connemara.
In recent months, Toronto-based company “MOAG” has made an application to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment to search for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch, Connemara.
“As Chair of both the Oireachtas Committee on Climate action and the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, I know only too well of the potentially damaging effects of mining on the landscape and the environment. It is for this reason that I opposed the granting of any further prospecting licences in Connemara,” she said.
“The science is clear. Mining adversely affects the environment by inducing loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, and contamination of surface water, groundwater, and soil. Mining can also trigger the formation of sinkholes. The leakage of chemicals from mining sites can also have detrimental effects on the health of the population living at or around the mining site.”
“Given the wonderful landscape and the importance of tourism as an industry in Connemara, I could not see any advantage in granting a further prospecting or mining licence. Connemara is also central to the Wild Atlantic Way experience, and having spent so much time, money and energy in promoting the area as a destination, the presence of mining operations would seem completely contradictory,” explained the Fine Gael TD.
“From the information I received from the Department this morning, it appears that because of submissions received from concerned members of the public and elected representatives, the Department sought further information from the company concerned. This request was ignored by the company and as a result no licence will be issued,” the local Deputy added.
“I wrote to Minister Bruton and expressed to him, in very clear terms, my opposition to the granting of this licence. I am pleased that no such licence will now issue. One of the country’s true beauty spots is not the place for further mining.”