A Clare Island fisherman has launched High Court proceedings aimed at stopping the laying of fibre optic cable off the Mayo coast, as part of a multi-million international communication project.

James O’Toole has brought a legal challenge against the granting of a licence to the Irish leg of the project which will see a Trans-Atlantic subsea cable system connect Northern Europe and the US.

The Irish branch of the cable system is called "America Europe Connect 2" and is owned by a consortium of IT companies including Facebook and Google.

The consortium is a notice party to the proceedings against the Minister of State at the Department of Planning and Local Government which granted a foreshore licence earlier this year.

A Trans-Atlantic fibre optic cable extending from the US to Denmark, with spurs to Ireland and Norway, is under construction. The planned route for the Irish spur includes a landfall at Old Head on the southern side of Clew Bay, over three kms from Louisburgh.

A High Court judge yesterday entered the case to the fast track Commercial Court where Clare island fisherman, James O’Toole, is challenging the granting of a foreshore licence to bring the fibre optic cable ashore at Old Head.

James Devlin - senior counsel for Mr O’Toole - told the court his client will also be applying to the High Court In the next few days for a stay on any work being carried out, pending a court determination on the legal challenge.

The hearing on whether a stay should be granted until the legal challenge is determined will be decided later this week.





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