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Plans scrapped for Dursey Island €10m visitor centre

May 10th, 2022 10:10 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Plans scrapped for Dursey Island €10m visitor centre Image

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PLANS for a €10m visitor centre and cable car for Dursey Island have been scrapped for now.

An Bord Pleanála has now said they will not contest a judicial review being sought by Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) who challenged the planning permission granted by Cork County Council in 2019.

A spokesperson for An Bord Pleanála (ABP) said that they have made the call to concede the case on ‘fairly narrow grounds’ with the expectation that the matter can be remitted for a fresh consideration.

Meanwhile, Cork County Council said it acknowledges the decision by ABP and awaits a ruling from the High Court next week and will then ‘reconsider all options in relation to this project’

Cllr Danny Collins, who intends to raise the issue at  the next West Cork Municipal meeting, said that he can’t understand why ABP isn’t contesting the case.

‘They should defend this application and stand by their decision from day one. Projects in rural Ireland like this will never go ahead and it would have been a massive boost to the region. I want answers as to why this has happened,’ said Cllr Collins.

Cork County Council and Fáilte Ireland were given permission to replace 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.

Cork South West FF TD Christopher O’Sullivan said he is ‘absolutely gutted’ by the decision to halt the plans.

‘It would have been a real star attraction, both nationally and internationally, and I would urge the Council to go back to the drawing board and reapply. It would also need to be a more robust application that can withstand future objections,’ he said.

FIE has called on the Council and Fáilte Ireland to take the opportunity to implement an alternative cable car upgrade, that was detailed in the 2019 planning application, which upgrades the cable car to take both humans and animals and was costing €1m.

‘The 2019 proposal would omit the visitor’s centre but would include simple toilet blocks and provide online booking as well.

‘This more modest proposal would link into the current work reinforcing the existing towers and could be funded from regional development sources without any further delay,’ said Tony Lowes of FIE.

Meanwhile, islanders are still cut off from the mainland since the cable car closed at the start of April. Plans for a three-day ferry service were described as ‘a joke’ and totally unworkable by one islander.

‘This has been going on five weeks now and we’ve had zero contact with the local authority since they announced the closure of the cable car.’

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