FOR the second time in as many years a controversial barrier at Keelbeg Pier in Union Hall has been damaged.
A spokesperson for Cork County Council confirmed that they were made aware of the problem shortly after the damage was caused recently, and he said the Council will repair or replace the barrier in due course.
The incident had not – at the time of going to press – been reported to gardaí because the damage may have been accidental.
In November 2020, there was a suspicion that the electronic barrier at the entrance to Keelbeg Pier had been smashed following complaints about new health and safety measures imposed by Cork County Council.
As part of the measures, a barrier to limit casual access to the busy fishing pier was installed at the entrance.
The person who caused the damage, two years ago, promptly approached the Council, admitted he had momentarily lost control of his vehicle and struck the electronic barrier. And he paid for the damage.
A member of the Council said that fishermen have since seen the wisdom of the barrier because it reduces the amount of non-fishing related traffic on the pier, and makes it safer for them to work.
However, the Council has, in recent months, been roundly criticised for its plans to securely fence off the old pier adjacent to the fishing pier.
In this instance, the Council said it is also following health and safety directives but locals are adamant that the old pier is an important amenity for pedestrians and those using leisure craft.
The Council said it had put up notices at the quayside, and had also circulated the report to pier users and locals, but some locals claim it was only given to members of the fishing industry.
The Council confirmed that ‘previous barriers put in place to restrict access to the old pier were removed’ and it is now proposing to ‘construct more robust barriers to close public access to the area.’
Members of the Union Hall and Glandore Harbour Development Committee have written to the Council outlining local objections.
They said the closure of the old pier would result in the loss of commercial fishing berths, as well as the loss of berths for leisure, yacht and punts. The chairperson of the committee claimed its closure would force these activities onto the new Keelbeg pier, which is already overcrowded and under-resourced.