Maritime Area Regulatory Authority officially launched

Maritime Area Regulatory Authority officially launched

Pictured: Darragh O'Brien at yesterday's MARA launch

The new Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA) has been officially launched by ministers, marking a significant milestone in the State’s stewardship of the maritime area including plans for renewable offshore energy development.

The newly-established authority will be responsible for regulating development and activity in Ireland’s maritime area and its role will include assessing applications for Maritime Area Consents (MACs), which are required before developers of offshore wind and other projects in the maritime area can make a planning application. It will also be responsible for granting licences for certain activities in the maritime area.

The establishment of MARA represents the beginning of phase two for Ireland’s all-of-government approach to renewable offshore energy. However, international law firm Clark Hill has questioned whether the government is on track to meet its renewable energy targets.

Launching the new authority at an event in Rosslare Europort yesterday, Darrah O’Brien, minister for housing, local government and heritage, said: “With the launch of the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority here in Rosslare today, we now begin the second phase of our all-of-government approach to the development of offshore renewable energy.

“Delivery of offshore renewable energy will be crucial as we strive towards our climate goals over the next few years and MARA will provide the regulation and clarity that this emerging industry needs and govern our extensive maritime resource and contribute to our nation’s sustainable future.”

Laura Brien, MARA’s chief executive officer, added: “Ireland has one of the highest sea-to-land ratios in Europe and today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in how Ireland will manage that resource.

“MARA’s remit is wide-ranging reflecting the diverse marine resource that we will steward for this generation and the ones to come. MARA is confident in our ability to support the governance of our maritime resources.

“In achieving this, we look forward to working with the wide range of stakeholders in the seafood, tourism, transportation as well as offshore renewable energy sectors to deliver on our role.”

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