The controversial new light LED light at Fastnet Lighthouse is to go live on the night of Monday, July 2nd, the Commissioners of Irish Lights has confirmed.
In a statement, Irish Lights said: ‘The new rotating lantern will have the same character as the existing light and a range of 18 nautical miles and will continue to provide an essential safety service for mariners as well as being visible along the Cork shoreline from Mizen Head to Castletownshend.’
Irish Lights CEO, Yvonne Shields, also confirmed that the organisation’s discussions with the local community – as part of the public consultation process – raised the question of Fastnet qualifying for UNESCO World Heritage Status.
‘In response,’ Ms Shields said, ‘we commissioned a report from an international expert to explore the potential for Fastnet to be considered a world heritage site and to get a better understanding of the context within which this might be considered.’
Ms Shields also gave an undertaking that Irish Lights ‘will work with stakeholders and the community to determine the best way to advance the important heritage value of Fastnet as an international landmark.’
Irish Lights said the switch to the new light will facilitate commencement of essential structural works, which are required to renew the attachment of the lantern room to the masonry structure of the tower. Work will continue on Fastnet until late August 2018 and final completion works will take place in summer 2019.
Maritime lawyer, Michael Kingston, who is a native of Goleen and director of the Irish Cultural Centre in London, is one of a number of people, and organisations, that have serious concerns about altering the original beam, which historically was ‘a symbol of hope’ for the Irish diaspora. Mr Kingston has raised the issue with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and he appealed to Irish Lights to defer removing mercury, which would render the old light inoperable, until time had been allowed to consider the report by the international expert.