THE EU commissioner for the environment has been asked to intervene to save the Great Blasket Island from further development and to stop works that are under way.
The historic Irish writers' island, deserted in the 1950s, has a number of unique natural habitats and rare species including several important sea bird species.
A submission by Blasket Island weaver Sue Redican to Stavros Dimas has been copied to a number of EU officials and MEPs. Ms Redican claims that the island risks being spoiled forever, a number of EU habitats directives are being ignored and public ownership issues have not been sorted in the State's part-buyout plans.
A Bord Pleanála oral hearing into a proposal by the majority landowner An Blascaod Mór Teo (BMT) to build a services building including a café, tractor store, wildlife rangers' facility and public toilet begins in Dingle next week.
The building, which will be retained by BMT, forms a key part of an agreement between the OPW and BMT for the State's purchase of the island. The development was given the go-ahead by Kerry County Council last year, but appealed by a number of parties, including Ms Redican, to An Bord Pleanála.
The State has been attempting to purchase the island from private landowners including BMT for almost 20 years. It aims to turn it into a national park and apply for Unesco World Heritage Site status; €8.5 million has been set aside for the purchase, preservation of the island and development of new piers.
This is the second attempt by BMT to build a services building. An Bord Pleanála rejected a similar proposal in 2005.
Peter Callery, director of BMT, has made it clear he is only going to sell much of BMT's share of the island if the building catering for up to 400 people a day gets the go-ahead.
Ms Redican has written to Mr Dimas to say that the buyout plans hand over too many rights to BMT and other landowners and access issues need to be addressed.
She claims the Government is failing to protect and monitor the island's rare habitats and is in contravention of seven articles and directives.
Some works are currently under way after planning was granted in 2004, but they have caused undue interference to water courses, pathways and habitats which should have been preserved under EU legislation, according to Ms Redican.
The Irish Times