Eco­nomic weir im­pact study to be un­der­taken

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Sean O’Rior­dan

Cork County Coun­cil is to carry out an eco­nomic im­pact study in an ef­fort to per­suade gov­ern­ment de­part­ments of the value of re­plac­ing a col­laps­ing weir on the Black­wa­ter River.

Coun­cil­lors be­lieve if the weir in Fer­moy is not re­stored, valu­able tourism rev­enue — es­pe­cially from coarse and game fish­ing — will be lost to the re­gion.

Its cur­rent con­di­tion also con­tin­ues to im­pact on wa­ter sports.

As­sis­tant county man­ager James Fog­a­rty said the coun­cil can­not af­ford to fund ur­gent re­pairs on its own and, un­for­tu­nately, to date ap­peals to gov­ern­ment agen­cies for fi­nan­cial sup­port “had fallen on deaf ears”.

Mem­bers of the coun­cil’s North­ern Com­mit­tee are con­cerned about the loss of tourist rev­enue from salmon fish­ing in the area and the im­pact the weir da­m­age was hav­ing on the lo­cal row­ing club.

Scores of peo­ple turned up at a pub­lic demon­stra­tion in the town, re­cently, de­mand­ing the struc­ture is up­graded and fully re­stored be­fore the risk in­creases of it be­ing com­pletely washed away.

Coun­cil­lors are de­mand­ing a new fish pass be in­stalled to help salmon get up­river to spawn.

De­bris washed down the river dur­ing ma­jor floods in re­cent years has con­trib­uted to the da­m­age.

Coun­cil­lors held a spe­cial meet­ing to ex­plore the best af­ford­able op­tion to re­store the weir back to its for­mer glory. Lo­cated in the town cen­tre, the 200-year-old weir is a pro­tected struc­ture.

Of­fi­cials are to as­cer­tain the scope of the works re­quired as well as the per­mis­sions needed from var­i­ous bod­ies to to carry out such works, the pro­cure­ment pro­ce­dure to be fol­lowed and, most im­por­tantly, the fund­ing re­quired.

In the mean­time, the coun­cil is seek­ing an ur­gent meet­ing with rel­e­vant agen­cies such as In­land Fish­eries Ire­land and the De­part­ment of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Cli­mate Ac­tion and En­vi­ron­ment.

Coun­cil of­fi­cials are also seek­ing con­sul­ta­tions with the Of­fice of Pub­lic Works in or­der to es­tab­lish the im­pact any pro­posed works on the weir may have on the town’s newly in­stalled flood de­fence in­stal­la­tions.

Mr Fog­a­rty said the weir would have to be com­pletely re­placed and not just patched up. He said the coun­cil is anx­ious to seek fi­nan­cial sup­port from other agen­cies to aid pro­posed works.

Cllr Frank O’Flynn said the town ben­e­fited sig­nif­i­cantly from fish­ing tourism and this could be lost if the weir wasn’t re­placed. Coun­cil­lors agreed to hold a spe­cial meet­ing in early July to dis­cuss any likely progress.

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