WHILE Cork County Council was unable to confirm a date for the repair of Barleycove’s broken pontoon, there were signs on Wednesday that the pontoon could be back in action within days.
Local councillors were recently briefed by a Council official that the pontoon is ‘expected’ to be reinstated in the same location with additional anchorage, ‘at the start of July’.
Cllr Ross O’Connell (SD) posted the good news on social media saying ‘summer is saved.’
But Cllr Caroline Cronin told The Southern Star she held back, fearing that the work might be delayed. ‘However, after speaking to the contractor,’ she said, ‘I believe the pontoon will be back in time for the start of July.
‘Hopefully, there won’t be any more storms,’ she added, ‘and it will stay in place until the end of the season.’
Cork County Council confirmed that there were people on the pontoon at the time it was damaged by strong winds and a tidal surge on May 17th.
Cllr O’Connell said a more permanent means of access than the pontoon needs to be considered.
Meanwhile, a Council spokesperson said that ‘a clear set of guidelines will have to be in place before the pontoon is returned’.
‘We are aiming to have the pontoon in place as soon as possible,’ said the spokesperson, who would not be drawn on a date.
On Wednesday, visiors to the beach spotted new pontoon steps at the entrance to the beach, prompting hopes the access route could be back working within days.
Local man Liam Wilcox said he was delighted to see that work is about to begin to repair the pontoon. ‘It means so much to have this back in place here over the tidal stream before the summer season takes off,’ he said.
Until the pontoon is reinstated locals say they will continue to have concerns about people walking through livestock, including a bull, which are grazing on commonage, in order to access the beach.
One Barleycove resident said there is ‘a huge safety issue’ should any of these bulls, cattle and calves take fright and stampede while people are passing to access the beach, on the only other access point. The presence of ‘cow pats on the paths’ was also mentioned as being a possible threat to Barleycove’s Blue Flag status. In line with Blue Flag by-laws, dogs are banned from the beach between the hours of 11am and 7pm, but there’s no mention of cattle!