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Protestors hold a demonstration at the Forty Foot in Dún Laoghaire against plans to drill for oil off Dalkey. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Marine conservation area may be setback to Dalkey oil bid

Arts minister Jimmy Deenihan has designated some of Dublin’s coastline as a special area of conservation.

PLANS BY an exploration company to drill for oil in waters off Dalkey may be set back by the designation of some of the proposed oil field a special area of conservation.

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, yesterday proposed that waters between Rockabill – two islands just off Skerries – and Dalkey Island be designated as a special area to conserve reefs between them, as well as to conserve the population of harbour porpoise.

“Average porpoise densities previously recorded from this area exceed densities recorded elsewhere in the Irish Sea and around the Irish coast, including the only existing sites designated for this species in Ireland,” the Department said.

Some of the area proposed to be designed is included in the waters which are proposed to be explored by Providence Resources in drilling for oil in the Kish Basin off Dalkey.

A foreshore licence allowing a survey of the well site, and the drilling of an exploratory well, was issued in October.

The designation of the special area comes under the EU habitats directive, which provides for the designation of certain areas as zones in which various flora or fauna can be nurtured.

Although the designation of the area does not itself restrict any operations there, the designation could hamper any application for a further foreshore licence to proceed with a larger exploration programme in the bay area.

Read: Oil company granted licence for exploratory oil well in Dalkey

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