Saturday, 10 February 2018

Threats made against Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages Chairman

Threats made against Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages Chairman as a result of objection to Cill Chiárain Aquaculture Business Park
In December Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages (GBASC) connemara members who were opposed to the proposed Aquaculture Business Park at Cill Chiarain Connemara raised the issue at our meeting. GBASC is a coming together of a wide range of interests including, inshore fishermen, anglers organisations, tourism business operators, food business operators , islanders, Connemara people and indeed concerned groups from wider afield. A group of concerned Connemara citizens who were in contact with our members were afraid to put their names to an objection to the Aquaculture Business Park (ABP) for fear of intimidation! 

Their fears seem to have been completely justified, for as soon as the objection was published on the Galway County Council planning website with my name and address as chairman of GBASC attached, I received threats on Facebook from a small group . One thug threatened to burn my house down, another advised that you could find my house on Google Earth. GBASC are seeking legal advice on how to deal with this serious situation. Intimidatory threats like these are a serious interference in the planning process, which is designed to allow concerned citizens to make submissions so that the planning authority can make decisions that take many views into account. The planning law as it stands allows for objections and comments from individuals and groups who have concerns in relation to a particular proposal. 

In fact there are laws to protect citizens from intimidation and bullying. Of greater concern than the Facebook issue is the repetition on some mainstream media of the name and address of myself, who in discharging my duties as chairman of GBASC, submitted an objection on the instructions of our committee, am now the focus of personal threats and intimidation for partaking in the democratic process.
They are putting personal data into the public domain in a manner that is very worrying. This is not the behaviour one would expect of journalists.

Billy Smyth
Chairman, Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages