This exploratory work asks questions about the deeper nature of conflict that two separate Gaelic-speaking island communities – one in Ireland and one in Scotland – have become embroiled in during recent years. In 2012, both these communities find themselves actively opposing decisionmaking processes of government bodies whose remit is to protect aspects of the natural environment in which the island people live.
On both islands the fishermen believe that their livelihood and way of living is being threatened by powerful institutions who are not listening to them. On Barra the dispute centres around proposals by the Scottish Government’s nature conservation body, Scottish Natural Heritage, to designate two European marine conservation areas in waters off the island (one of which, at the time of writing in June 2012, has already been approved for designation by the Scottish Government while the other awaits a decision). Meanwhile on the Donegal islands, including Arranmore the dispute is about the Irish Government’s moratorium on drift-net fishing for salmon and on what the islanders feel are crippling restrictions that have been placed on their ability to to fish with nets in their local waters.