DURSEY islanders said they were left stranded at the weekend because there was no one to operate the cable car linking the island to the mainland.
Although the regular ferry operator gave ‘ample notice’ that he was taking the weekend off, the Council said it couldn’t get a relief operator to work in his place.
It meant that the cable car stopped running at 5pm on Friday, December 9th and didn’t start up again until 9.30am on Monday morning – a situation that left the permanent residents on the island landlocked.
Islander Martin Sheehan spoke to The Southern Star about his frustration, and the frustration of the four people who were stranded on the island over the weekend.
‘As providers and operators of the service,’ Mr Sheehan said, ‘the Council has a duty of care to the residents of the island, as well the farmers who want to come and go and check their livestock.’
Mr Sheehan, who farms on the island, made the point that there are some islanders who have health issues and should have been considered, because they might have needed medical attention at short notice. And he also complained about the lack of notification given to the islanders.
The Council said it did attempt to get the message out to as many people as possible, by placing a notice at the operations hut on the mainland, and by sending emails to public representatives, tourism groups, and accommodation providers, as well as any homeowners on the island with an email address.
But Mr Sheehan took issue with this, saying: ‘Of all the people I spoke to not one of them received an email.’
Cork County Council has apologised for ‘any inconvenience caused.’ A spokesperson said: ‘Last weekend the cable car operator took annual leave but unfortunately, given the time of year, the primary relief operator and the secondary relief operator were unavailable to cover. Hence the cable car was closed.’
Mr Sheehan was not placated by the Council’s response. He said: ‘With Christmas coming, the same thing could happen in two weeks’ time. This is an ongoing issue. The Council needs to sort it out. We want written confirmation that adequate staff will be available to operate the cable car at all times.’