Fibre optic cable work for Irish Sea “premature”, says Portrane councillor

by Sylvia Pownall

A Portrane councillor has called for an immediate halt on works to install a manhole linked to plans for an underwater fibre optic cable across the Irish Sea.

Cllr Paul Mulville (SD) has blasted the preparatory works as “premature” and “presumptuous” since neither planning nor foreshore permission have yet been granted.

euNetworks Ireland – Private Fiber Limited erected a site notice on public land at Portrane Green just last Friday advising it was seeking planning permission at the site for a telecoms cabin for an emergency generator.

It said the generator would be held “in an acoustically insulated enclosure for use only during times of national grid interruption”.

However, Cllr Mulville said he has been closely monitoring the Rockabill Undersea Fibre Optics Cable project, which will traverse protected Natura 2000 sites at Portrane beach, and he is not satisfied with the level of consultation.

According to a Dail reply, the Marine Licence Vetting Committee recommended granting the licence and found that the proposed works would not have a significant negative impact on navigation, fishing, the marine environment or protected species.

Cllr Mulville told Dublin Gazette: “The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has not even granted formal permission for a foreshore licence to the company; the licence is still with the Chief State Solicitors Office for drafting.

“Consultation with residents has been the bare legal minimum, with very little effort by the authorities to inform people living in the area about the plan, which will make changes to public lands and amenities in the village.

“The entire thing has the appearance of being done too fast and in the dark.”

Cllr Mulville has written to Fingal County Council requesting more details – calling for an immediate halt on works until answers are given.

The local authority indicated that it had not granted any consents or licence, but that the works under way may be exempted from planning, adding: “This matter is under investigation.”

Separately, a planned ESB Telecoms landing station at Loughshinny for a sub-sea fibre optic cable faces local opposition.

In an objection submitted to council planners, residents in Loughshinny insist that the landing station and cable have “no strategic importance to the people living in this area or Fingal in general”.

Fingal County Council has requested more information from ESB Telecoms, including clarity around the issue of environmental impact.

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