A CONTROVERSIAL plan to drill for oil off Dublin's Dalkey Island has suffered a setback after the Government earmarked the area a special conservation zone for porpoises.
Six new sites have been proposed by Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan as special areas of conservation, known as SACs. They include an area around Dalkey Island off Dublin Bay, where Providence Res- ources has been granted a foreshore licence to drill a single oil exploration well.
Now an SAC is proposed at the site from Rockabill – about 6km off Skerries – to Dalkey Island to protect the harbour porpoise. There are more porpoises found here than anywhere else around the Irish coast.
A Providence Resources spokesman said it had not received notification of proposed changes in the area and could not comment further.
However, major developments have already been permitted by An Bord Pleanala in some SACs, subject to stringent planning conditions.
Sruwaddacon estuary, the location of the Corrib Gas development, is already a special area of conservation.