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.

 

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