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Locals unhappy with pier plans

April 21st, 2022 5:10 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Plans to close off Keelbeg Old Pier are concerning locals. (Photo: Andrew Harris)

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PUBLIC access to the old Keelbeg pier in Union Hall is to be closed using ‘robust barriers.’

A spokesperson for Cork County Council confirmed the course of action is to ensure the safety of all pier users. The decision was made after the Council commissioned a report about the workings of the facilities at Union Hall and the need to improve safety.

The Council said it has put up notices at the quayside, and had also circulated the report to pier users and locals. However, some locals claim it was only given to members of the fishing industry. In a statement issued to The Southern Star, the Council noted that ‘previous barriers put in place to restrict access were removed.’

The Council spokesperson said the local authority is now proposing to ‘construct more robust barriers to close public access to the area.’

Aodh O’Donnell, chairperson of the Union Hall and Glandore Harbour Development Committee, sent a letter to the Council objecting to the proposed safety measures at the pier.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, he said the closure of the old pier will result in the loss of commercial fishing berths, as well as the loss of berths for leisure, yacht and punts.

Its closure, the committee claims, would mean Glandore sailing club would be without access to the pier for its programme in the summer months. The committee is also concerned it would block an emergency ladder and prevent its use by shore anglers and those fishing for crabs. ‘The consequences,’ according to the chairperson, ‘will force these activities onto the new Keelbeg pier, which is already overcrowded and under-resourced.’

The committee has called for the area to be developed and for a feasibility study to be carried out. ‘Closure of the old pier,’ Mr O’Donnell stated, ‘will have a negative impact on all commercial fishing and tourism.’ Meanwhile, almost 40 paintings of the old pier in Union Hall are currently on loan to University Hospital Waterford, where they are on public display, having spent three years at CUH. UL Prof Paul Finucane, who has lived in Union Hall for the last 40 years, said the exhibition will eventually be permanently housed in Union Hall.

‘It’s so sad,’ he said, ‘that Cork County Council now plans to deface this wonderful old structure by erecting an eight-foot metal cage.’

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