THE war of words over controversial changes planned for Glandore pier, and to close off an old pier in Union Hall, continued this week.
In the face of what Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) referred to as ‘World War II’ in Glandore, the divisional county manager, Clodagh Henehan insisted: ‘It is not our wish to impose anything on a community, but we have a role to bring best practice in health and safety for the users of the pier.’
Cllr Carroll at a meeting of the Western Division said that ‘people are very worked up and annoyed.’ He appealed to Council officials to ‘go back to these people, meet them, and talk to them.’
Ms Henehan said Council representatives will meet with representatives from both Glandore and Union Hall communities to talk about their concerns.
She said the works proposed for Glandore pier – which was approved through the Brexit Adjustment Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme (BALAMI) – were ‘minor enough.’
The sum of €60,000 is to be spent on rails and safety protective measures and to improve facilities on the pier.
Normally, she said the local authority has about €500,000 a year for pier improvement works. This year, however, it has secured €3.4m through BALAMI, but that has to be spent within the next 18 months.
The manager said each of the 15 BALAMI applications (14 of which were approved) involved between 60 and 80 pages of details, drawings and financial projections.
‘Until we had the funding, these were just proposals,’ she said. ‘When funding was in place it became a plan and we brought it to the attention of the maritime communities.
‘The works being carried out in Glandore are important works but they are not going to take over the pier,’ she added.
‘We are trying to improve the practices on our piers in the context of health and safety and are available to explain to communities how it will work and to find solutions together.’
Cllr Carroll said they were ‘aware of health and safety and government directions,’ but ‘it is a situation where decisions are made for both places without consultation with the harbour users.’
‘I don’t think you can, as in the case with the old Keelbeg Pier in Union Hall, just cut off the little bit of an amenity area that has been there for generations – not without providing an alternative,’ he added.
Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said the problem may be the timing of how the Council ‘engages’ with communities.
Clodagh Henehan said the Glandore application is ‘very clear’ – there is approximately €60,000 to be spent on guard rails that will not interfere with activity on the pier.
She said this proposal was previously agreed at the Council’s Coastal Committee meetings. A further €3,000 is to be spent on line markings, and €6,000 is to be spent on CCTV.
‘The investment we are making on the pier is for very simple, normal facility upgrades that we have done on other piers across the coastline,’ said the manager.
She noted that complaints had been made about a loss of storage on the pier, but she said: ‘There are two or three areas that are provided for storage of small craft.’
Provision has also been made for a line-boxed area on the slip that must be kept clear at all times because, she said, ‘it is essential in instances of emergencies to get down that slipway as quickly as possible.’