Clew Bay

  • A meeting organised by Clare Island Fishermen’s Group held earlier this month, heard a number of concerns that the group have in relation to the proposed laying of a fibre optic cable in Clew Bay, connecting the US with Europe.

    Aqua Comms have applied for a foreshore licence for the cable.

    It is proposed to lay the cable in a free floating unanchored way, on a 25-30km, stretch of seabed north of Clare Island and west of Achill.

    The Clare Island Fishermen’s Group say it is proposed to hold responsible any vessel which snags this cable, which they say effectively creates a serious hazard at sea.

    The group is also concerned about where the cable is due to make landfall – close to the harbour at Old Head. They say it would cause serious issues and danger for the passenger ferries at that location.

    They are also concerned about the impact on the future development of Old Head as a possible deep sea port.

    The group is holding another meeting this Saturday at 12 noon on Clare Island and all are welcome to attend.

    In a statement to Midwest News Aqua Comms say:

    There are over one million miles of subsea cable laid across the world. They are a simple and safe technology that facilitate our phone, TV and internet communications.

    There are currently 20 cables landing in Ireland and they do not represent either an obstruction or a hazard.  

    The concerns raised by Mr O’Malley are all perfectly understandable, but we are confident that we can address each and every one.

    • The narrow 4-centimetre wide cable will be buried two meters below the seabed. 

     

    • It has a reinforced protective steel coating, weighs 4 kg per metre and cannot float.

     

    • For a small portion of rocky outcrop the cable will be fixed firmly to the seabed, by virtue of its weight and the tension applied.

     

    • The cable is too heavy and strong to be lifted by a fishing boat but if damaged, it automatically switches off.

     

    All of these issues have been discussed at a number of meetings of the regional fisheries forum which were attended by representatives of the Clare Island Fishermens’ group.

    • Finally, we have had a positive engagement with the local ferry operator and from our engagement with the Council we are confident that the cable will not hamper any future development of Old Head.

     

  •  Failte Ireland is inviting local tourism businesses and community groups, and anyone interested in tourism in the Clew Bay area, to take part in a series of workshops running in the county from next week, from the 9th to the 16th of April.

    The workshops will seek to out together stories, ideas and opportunities that could be used to boost tourism in the Clew Bay area, as part of the Wild Atlantic Way.

    The findings from the workshop will feed intothe Clew Bay Visitor Experience Development Plan, about to get underway, a blueprint for tourism development in this region.

    Fionnán Nestor is the Project Officer with Failte Ireland and spoke to Midwest News today about the initiative.

    Anyone wishing to attend workshops in Achill, Tiernar, Westport, Louisburgh, Clare Island or Inisturk should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Mayo County Council says it is fully supportive of a project which will involve the laying of a fibre optic cable in Clew Bay.

    The local authority’s Head of Marine Michael O’Boyle was speaking after concerns were voiced by the Clare Island Fishermen’s Group at a public meeting this month and also on Midwest News earlier this week.

    Their spokesperson George O’Malley said it is proposed to lay the cable in a free floating unanchored way, on a 25-30km, stretch of seabed north of Clare Island and west of Achill and it is proposed to hold responsible any vessel which snags this cable, which the group says effectively creates a serious hazard at sea.

    The group is also concerned about where the cable is due to make landfall – close to the harbour at Old Head. They say it would cause serious issues and danger for the passenger ferries at that location and are also concerned about the impact on the future development of Old Head as a possible deep sea port.

    In a statement to Midwest News in response yesterday, Aqua Comms, the company seeking the foreshore licence for the project said: there are over one million miles of subsea cable laid across the world and they are a simple and safe technology that facilitate our phone, TV and internet communications.

    There are currently 20 cables landing in Ireland and they do not represent either an obstruction or a hazard.  

    They said the concerns raised are all perfectly understandable, but they are confident that theycan address each and every one.

     

    • The narrow 4-centimetre wide cable will be buried two meters below the seabed. 

     

    • It has a reinforced protective steel coating, weighs 4 kg per metre and cannot float.

     

    • For a small portion of rocky outcrop the cable will be fixed firmly to the seabed, by virtue of its weight and the tension applied.

     

    • The cable is too heavy and strong to be lifted by a fishing boat but if damaged, it automatically switches off.

     

    They also say that they have had a positive engagement with the local ferry operator and from our engagement with the Council we are confident that the cable will not hamper any future development of Old Head.

    Michael O’Boyle has echoed those sentiments and said the council is very excited about the arrival of this second cable on our coastline. He says the technology is safe and is environmentally benign.

    He told Midwest News today that the local authority is extremely confident about the safety of this cable.