Teen rowers blocked from Union Hall slipway by Council

November 25th, 2019 1:15 PM

By Southern Star Team

The Cork County Council lorry very obviously blocking the access to Myross Rowing Club's boats in Union Hall, making it impossible for the disappointed teenagers to train last weekend. (Photo: Andrew Harris)

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MEMBERS of the hugely successful Myross Rowing Club are ‘outraged’ that a parked Cork County Council truck prevented them from accessing the water for training.

Richie Brown, a lifetime member of the club, said teenagers were blocked from training on the water on Sunday morning because the Council parked a truck directly in front of their property on the slipway at Union Hall.

Mr Browne believes the issue relates to a planning application to build a boatshed on their land beside the slipway.

The club is also seeking a ‘sub-lease’ from the Council to give them access to the foreshore.

Mr Browne said: ‘We saw the Council truck there on the Saturday morning and thought it would be moved, but when we went to go training on Sunday we couldn’t go, because we couldn’t get access to our boats on our own property.’

Mr Browne said the slipway in Union Hall is the only access point for vessels to enter the water and that all of the club members were ‘livid’ when they discovered the Council truck had not been moved.

The truck was moved on Monday morning, but Mr Browne asked: ‘What is to stop the Council doing it again?’ 

He said word had gone out that the club would be pouring concrete on its site on Saturday, but ‘that simply was not the case.’

Club treasurer Tadhg Bergin said the club has ‘legal title’ to the property. In 2014, he said, they had a pre-planning meeting with the Council about erecting a boatshed and the Council’s only proviso was that the club would secure a foreshore licence and a lease from the Council, similar to the lease that the RNLI has in Union Hall, to give access to the slipway.

The planning application for the boatshed – measuring roughly 10m by 4m – was submitted to the planning authority in February 2015, and the Council granted planning permission in April of that year.

‘We then proceeded with the foreshore application, which was eventually approved in January 2017,’ said Mr Bergin. 

‘As part of that lengthy foreshore licence application, the Council had to confirm they had no problem with the foreshore and the building of the shed and, in November 2015, the Council confirmed that in writing to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.’

‘Since then,’ Mr Bergin said, ‘we have had various meetings, discussions and emails with Cork County Council, but the local authority has yet to give us the necessary sub-lease to the foreshore.’

The treasurer said the Council has ‘indicated’ that the club is not going to be allowed to build the shed. He said he believes that indication is based on ‘health and safety issues’ because the local authority does not want members of the public, or the club, having regular access to the commercial fishing pier.

Mr Bergin said: ‘The Council has not said this categorically, but it has been mentioned at several meetings.’ He also said: ‘We cannot get Cork County Council to sit around a table to discuss a solution to the problem.’

Myross is one of the south’s most successful clubs and has even had participants in the World Coastal Rowing Championships in Hong Kong recently.

The Council issued a comment late on Wednesday which said that, as holders of a foreshore licence, it has a duty of care and responsibility for the fishing pier in question.

‘Cork County Council will take action as needed to ensure that unauthorised work is not carried out on this area for which we are responsible,’ it added.

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