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.

 

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