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Local councillors say most people want Dursey visitor centre to go ahead

May 26th, 2022 5:10 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Some councillors were critical of the environmental group that challenged the plans for a major visitor centre.

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COUNCILLORS have spoken of their frustration that An Bord Pleanála did not contest  the judicial review sought by Friends of the Environment (FIE) into planning permission for a €10m visitor centre and new cable car for Dursey Island.

FIE challenged the planning permission granted by Cork County Council and Fáilte Ireland which would see the replacement of the existing six-person cable car with a two-car desynchronised reversible cable car system, capable of carrying 650 people an hour. The permission also included an extensive glass fronted visitor centre with a gift shop and 84-person café on the mainland, with parking for 80 cars and buses.

At  a recent meeting of the Municipal District of West Cork, Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said the people of Beara and West Cork are devastated to hear that An Bord Pleanála didn’t contest the case.

‘It’s a total and utter disgrace and I want An Bord Pleanála to come to us and explain why they didn’t fight it, despite giving planning permission for what would have been a huge tourism boost to the Beara Peninsula and the greater area of West Cork,’ said Cllr Collins.

‘Locals in Beara who I spoke to were shocked that An Bord Pleanála wouldn’t contest the case and queried what message they were sending out. The FIE are not friends of the people of West Cork – or the Beara peninsula,’ claimed the member. Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said the matthas upset a lot of people in West Cork who are ‘outraged’ by the decision.

‘This country can’t be dictated by a group called Friends of the Environment and it’s not acceptable to the people I represent in West Cork and we must voice our opinions,’ said Cllr Carroll.

Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) said the issue with him and his fellow councillors was that the judicial review was not contested by An Bord Pleanála.

‘The vast majority of people in West Cork are quite keen to progress this project and it will be quite transformative for Beara and the south west. We need to have our say and make it clear that we’re backing this project,’ said Cllr Hayes.

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