Dursey islanders need new derrick to launch boats safely

January 3rd, 2023 10:30 PM

By Jackie Keogh

The rusted derrick at the pier. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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DURSEY islanders have called for the installation of a derrick so they can safely launch their boats in rough seas.

‘Launching a boat on the slip is dangerous in rough conditions,’ according to islander Joseph Sullivan, ‘because the slip is very steep and there can be very big swells that could knock your boat on its side, or fill it with water.’

An existing derrick – a type of crane with a moveable arm for moving heavy weights – fell into disrepair on the mainland a few years ago.

And, with the November deadline for the completion of works to the island’s cable car pushed back to Easter, Mr Sullivan said they need a new derrick immediately.

Because the slip is very exposed for boats coming from Garnish harbour or Castletownbere, Mr Sullivan said it would allow them to put their boats in the water safely.

It would, he added, also allow islanders to transfer heavy items, such as animal feed stuff and groceries, onto the punts. The loss of the cable car for transportation purposes has also led to a call for extra cargo ferries to Dursey Island.

Normally, there are four cargo ferries in the year, a seasonal average, but an extra cargo ferry would be required this winter, said Mr Sullivan.

County mayor Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) raised the issue at a recent meeting of the Western Division of Cork County Council when he called for the existing derrick to be repaired or replaced.

But the county engineer Kevin Morey told him that the existing derrick had been inspected and is no longer safe for use.

Senior executive officer MacDara O h-Icí also confirmed that the derrick is unsafe and will have to be removed.

‘We will do a review with a view to replacing it,’ said Mr O h-Icí, ‘and we will consult with the stakeholders about what type of derrick would be suitable for their needs.’

Cllr Collins made the point that the islanders ‘need it now’ because they are having to contend with strong seas on the notoriously treacherous Dursey Sound.

‘A lot of the time,’ he added, ‘they are taking a chance, putting themselves and produce onto a boat.

‘They have no choice,’ he added, ‘but to manhandle goods. The landings they are working off are not proper piers. And a derrick would make things safer.’

The county mayor said he was hoping that when the cable car repair project – which is expected to cost more than €1m – is finalised, the islanders will be content.

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