A WEST Cork councillor has this week called on Cork County Council to carry out immediate dredging works at Ring Harbour in Clonakilty amid widespread concerns over the build-up of sand at the harbour entrance.
Cllr Noel O’Donovan (FG), who recently met with a number of concerned local fisherman and leisure boat owners, raised the issue as a notice of motion at last Monday’s meeting of the West Cork Municipal District.
He said the new sand bar is shutting off access to the inner harbour, except for a brief window when the tide is high. And he pointed out that there have been several cases in recent months where boats have run aground on the sand bank, and become stuck for hours, waiting for the tide to change.
The councillor said: ‘This is more than an inconvenience – it is a safety issue for the occupants of these boats. The sea is unpredictable at the best of times and a fast moving storm could present a real risk to life if a boat was marooned in the channel.’
The Council’s coastal management section acknowledged that there is a build-up of silt, sand and mud at the entrance to the harbour and around the piers in Ring, which has been attributed to the bad storms and increased rainfall over the past few years.
Cllr O’Donovan also called for installation of new navigational aids along the channel entrance, as local fisherman are having to use their own flash lamps and homemade reflective aids to guide them to shore in dense fog conditions.
The Council agreed to fully examine the situation in Ring as a matter of urgency and provide an updated report for the January meeting of the West Cork Municipal District.
Sinn Fein Cllr Paul Hayes agreed that the silting-up of Ring Harbour is ‘an issue that we can no longer ignore.’
‘The huge sand bank means that they [fishermen] have limited access to the pier at Ring and they are constantly battling with the conditions, the threat of running aground, and the possibility of damaging their expensive equipment.’