A NEW €35m scheme to upgrade publicly-owned piers and harbours might end up costing West Cork in terms of investment in infrastructure.
That was the claim made by Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) at a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District after it was suggested that local projects might not qualify for funding under a new EU Brexit adjustment reserve package.
Cllr Collins also expressed concern that the annual grant from the Department of Marine could be put on hold for the duration of the €35m project.
‘Ever since this funding has been announced, my phone has been hopping,’ said Cllr Collins, ‘but it seems as if this funding won’t cover any of the piers or slipways I have mentioned.’
But he was full of praise for the Council’s recent efforts to upgrade Zetland Pier outside Glengarriff, saying they did ‘a remarkable job.’
Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) said he was concerned about conservation areas designations, which mean a foreshore licence would is needed before a project can proceed.
Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) said his understanding that only piers and harbours negatively impacted by Brexit can benefit.
‘We have the biggest coastal area in Ireland,’ he added, ‘we could spend the entire €35m national allocation ourselves because what we have been getting is pittance.’
Cllr Joe Carroll said a foreshore licence could take three years to acquire, adding that because Baltimore is listed a special conservation area, it can’t get a breakwater to protect the fishing fleet.
Senior engineer Ruth O’Brien said the €35m scheme is to focus on ‘shovel ready projects’ with up to €1m per project.
Senior executive officer MacDara O h–Icí said: ‘We are awaiting the application forms and confirmation that the old Department scheme is suspended and will come back with specifics when we have them.’