Cllr Damien Geoghegan, President of the Association of Irish Local Government, has been appointed to the Advisory Group for Ireland’s first Marine Spatial Strategy.
As a member of Waterford City & County Council, Cllr Geoghegan has wide experience of the interactions between the local authority system and the marine environment.
Nineteen of Ireland’s local authorities have coastlines of varying scales and complexity. Tourism, energy, industry, fishing and seafood, and export and import are just some of the economic dimensions which concern local authorities on the coastline. There are also strong environmental, cultural and heritage assets embraced by local authorities in coastal locations which have long been recognised in local authority development plans.
In the past planning for the marine environment, beyond the high-tide line, has been the remit of other state agencies. Given the wide experience of local authorities in coastal planning, Cllr Geoghegan believes it would make sense to bring a high level of co-ordination between the long-established council planning system and the new world of marine planning. The development of the new Marine Spatial Plan is being led by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.