BY JACKIE KEOGH
COUNCILLORS in West Cork have complained that the application process for a foreshore licence for dredging works at Ring and Courtmacsherry ‘seems to be taking forever.’
Kevin Costello, an engineer with Cork County Council, attended a meeting of the Western Committee to update the councillors on the progress to date.
But the councillors expressed dissatisfaction with the length of time it is taking. The county mayor, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF), asked the Council engineer if he was aware of how much damage the build-up of silt in both Ring and Courtmacsherry is doing to the RNLI rescue boat, as well as locally-owned business vessels and pleasure craft.
‘It clogs the filters in the engines. It’s not just about being able to tie up at a pier or pontoon, this is costing people their livelihoods,’ said the Fianna Fáil councillor.
Mr Costello reminded the councillors: ‘We haven’t done dredging projects before. There are many environmental and archaeological surveys that need to be done. The materials have to be analysed to see if it contains contaminants. It is a slow process. I know it is a bit frustrating, but it is unavoidable.’
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF), who lives in Courtmacsherry, complained: ‘We are discussing things we have discussed for years. It was three years ago that we heard from the Courtmacsherry lifeboat crew about the tilting pontoon and their difficulties trying to get out of the harbour. We seem to be tying ourselves up in knots with regulations.’
Cllr John O’Sullivan (FG) pointed out that the applications for Ring and Courtmacsherry are confined to limited areas and that the entire harbour should be part of the proposal.
Mr Costello confirmed that the application relates to the pontoon and the pier in Courtmacsherry and Ring.
To do the entire bay, he said, would cost millions and the Council is focusing on dealing with the immediate problem of access.