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‘Cut off’ Dursey needs chopper ‘immediately’ urges TD

November 29th, 2022 1:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Mary Healy, who has a house in Dursey, taking her final trip on the cable car in March. It could be next year before the car reopens, the Council has said. (Photo: Anne Marie Cronin)

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THE Government has been accused of completely failing to appreciate the scale of the challenges for Castletownbere and Dursey residents, due to the delayed repairs to the cable car that connects the island to the mainland.

So said TD Michael Collins (Ind) who, after he raised the matter in the Dáil with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, was told he would have the matter investigated as he ‘did not have an update to hand.’

The Southern Star recently revealed exclusively that the cable car may not reopen until 2023.

‘The Tánaiste’s reply made it clear that the effective stranding of Irish citizens on one of our own coastal islands is not even on the government’s radar,’ said Deputy Collins.

‘This is simply intolerable, as we now know that the original date for repair completions has been pushed back and the cable car may not become operational until January 2023,’ said Deputy Collins. ‘Yet despite this, there remains an alarming lack of urgency from both the local authority and government.’

‘I have spoken directly with the islanders and landowners in the past week, and they tell me they have had no way on or off the island for almost two weeks. The temporary ferry service put in place has not been able to travel due to inclement weather, leaving no access to the island. This is an emergency,’ he added.

‘If there was a prison on Dursey island, you’d have every NGO (non-governmental organisation) in the country jumping up and down about the inability of people on the island to receive food and supplies, and rightly so,’ he added. ‘A helicopter service must be put in place immediately for the people of Dursey Island so people can get food and get onto the island to feed their cattle, as well as a derrick being provided on the mainland, which the islanders have said would also help them,’ Deputy Collins concluded.

Cork County Council said earlier this month that the cable car may not now open until January 2023.

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