Supreme Court blocks Ria Formosa demolitions as islanders await definitive political pledge

Environmental agency Polis Litoral received another broadside from the country’s courts this week as the Supreme Administrative Tribunal in Lisbon upheld an embargo lodged by Ria Formosa islanders desperate to save their homes from demolition.

According to a report today in Correio da Manhã, “any administrative act by Polis in the communities of Farol and Hangares, on the island of Culatra, is now prohibited”.

President of the islanders’ residents association, Feliciano Júlio, said: “Polis had everything prepared to take possession of homes before the Supreme Court accepted our appeal.”

All residents need now is the definitive political pledge by government leaders.

Environment minister João Fernandes has already “guaranteed that primary residences and all constructions connected to fishing within the community of Culatra” will be legalised, writes CM, but the process is still dependent on other things happening first – and does not (yet) safeguard fishing constructions in Farol or Hangares.

Even so, campaigning islanders are at last seeing rewards for their tireless efforts to save a way of life.

“We will never give up,” one of the youngest ‘warriors’ told us. “Iris da Ilha de Farol” is just five years old – the daughter of single parent Vanessa Morgado who has determinedly led this struggle with her godfather and father, despite the fact that the effort has seen her lose her job.

“I am so proud of her,” Vanessa Morgado has told us on numerous occasions. “Whenever bad news comes, she tells me to keep going to save her island.”

Regarding the ‘good news’ at last coming through for scores of island families, CM reports that Polis’ president Sebastião Teixeira – the man dubbed demolition man, for his zeal to cleanse the islands of its properties – was not answering his telephone.

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Click here to see Iris da Ilha de Farol building up steam: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0HXA8Vge-pVQTN5OGticjkwa1E/view?pref=2&pli=1

Photo: Iris da Ilha de Farol riding into battle in a crate at the largest demonstration held to save the islanders’ homes, in April 2015