Locals to fight for pier despite Council’s firm ‘no’ to any delay

April 18th, 2023 10:30 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Protesters from Union Hall trying to stop the closure of their local pier took their protest to County Hall Cork on Tuesday, but their pleas fells on deaf ears when the chief executive said the Council would press ahead with its plans. (Photo: Andrew Harris)

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PROTESTORS in Union Hall say they will not accept Cork County Council’s decision to partition the old pier.

But as ‘the person who carries the can’, the Council’s chief executive Tim Lucey said the Council will be proceeding, at the earliest possible date, to prevent vehicle and pedestrian access to the head of the old pier at Keelbeg – for health and safety reasons.

Members of the Glandore Union Hall Harbour Users Committee were in County Hall on Tuesday to support a motion by members of the West Cork Municipal District, which called for the suspension of the Council’s decision to restrict access to 20m of the 80m pier, until a solution is found.

The councillors also called on the Council to renew its efforts to secure funding to carry out repair works on the pier which the community has been using for the last 100 years.

Reading from the Byrne Looby report, which was produced in March 2020, Mr Lucey said the old pier is constructed primarily of random coursed stone and shows signs of previous patching and repair work.

‘The pier deck,’ he said, ‘is in poor structural condition with evidence of subsidence at the pier head.’

Evidence of ‘settlement and movement of the structure’ at the northern end, due to the condition of the pier deck, with multiple cracks visible in the stone and concrete deck, were also reported.

He said there are large gaps visible in the joints between the limestone quay wall blocks, at various points of the pier, leading to suspicions that the core material under the deck of the structure may have been subject to erosion.

Byrne Looby recommended that new, more substantial, barriers be installed – a previous set having been removed without authorisation – until additional assessments of the pier can be carried out.

West Cork’s public representatives appealed for the decision to be postponed because the pier is in such demand by a wide cross-section of the community for inshore fishing and amenity purposes.

That appeal was rejected. 

A call to have additional warning notices erected instead of barriers was also refused.

Calls for meetings with the report’s engineers were deemed unnecessary because the report could be explained in-house by the Council’s engineering department.

Complaints about a lack of communication with Cork County Council was also refused by Mr Lucey, who said: ‘I am informed by my own staff that representatives met on seven occasions.’ He added that the local authority would ‘continue to engage’.

A final appeal to postpone the decision until after a meeting between the West Cork councillors, the West Cork’s Oireachtas members and the minister was met by Mr Lucey with a single word: ‘No.’

‘Disgusted,’ was the word Aodh O’Donnell, chairman of the harbour users committee, used to describe his response to the decision.

Outside the meeting, one protester said that if the Council puts up new  barriers, they will be taken down.

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