By BRIAN MOORE
THE urgent need for a relief road for Castletownbere – and another for Bantry – was voiced at a recent meeting held to discuss traffic management in the fishing port.
The meeting of members of the West Cork Municipal District in Bantry heard that the first round of the public consultation phase for the Castletownbere Transport Management Survey is now completed.
The councillors welcomed the public participation and heard that with 60 submissions lodged, the overwhelming concern for most residents in Castletownbere remains the lack of facilities for pedestrians.
Chair of the Municipal District, Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind), said that the traffic survey is of vital importance, not only to Castletownbere but also to the commercial and social development of the area.
‘Castletownbere is now recognised as Ireland’s premier fishing port. This transport survey is of vital importance, and I am delighted to see the residents and business owners participating and having their voices and needs for the future heard,’ he said.
The final draft is due in May, and the second phase of public consultations will then get underway. The final report’s publication is scheduled for October.
Cllr Pat Gerard Murphy (FF) said that with the increase in commercial traffic along the R572, it is crucial that the infrastructure can facilitate, not only the residents and the local business owners, but also the many international transport companies involved in the fishing industry, and tourists.
Other issues highlighted by the public included the lack of parking, and the location of the public transport pick-up and set-down points, along with the urgent need for a relief road for Castletownbere.
‘I am glad to hear that pedestrian concerns are being taken into account at this stage of the survey,’ Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) said. ‘While this study is about traffic management in Castletownbere, we must remember that any decisions made will affect other villages and residents along the R572. I feel that other towns in West Cork, especially Bantry – which is also experiencing a massive increase in commercial traffic linked to the fishing industry in Castletownbere – need their own dedicated transportation study as a matter of urgency. With the increase in traffic, I think it is time to look at a relief road for Bantry,’ said Cllr Hegarty.