Coun­cil of­fi­cials hope to re­pair weir

Irish Examiner - County - - Front Page - Seán O’Rior­dan

Cork County Coun­cil of­fi­cials are hope­ful talks with OPW of­fi­cials will re­sult in grants from govern­ment depart­ments for a €1.6m re­pair project on the weir in Fer­moy which is on the verge of col­lapse.

The weir and fish pass have been all but de­stroyed by re­peated flood­ing in the river in re­cent years.

The sit­u­a­tion cur­rently threat­ens the ac­tiv­i­ties of the lo­cal row­ing club, which has said it may no longer be able to hold re­gat­tas be­cause the dam­aged weir has low­ered wa­ter lev­els along Bar­nane and its club­house.

In ad­di­tion, there are fears that salmon can’t get up­river to spawn be­cause the fish pass is dam­aged.

The River Black­wa­ter is a noted salmon river and fears have been raised that if the fish pass isn’t re­paired there could be a ma­jor im­pact on angling tourism in the area.

Se­nior coun­cil of­fi­cials told a meet­ing of the Charleville/ Fer­moy mu­nic­i­pal district coun­cil that they were hav­ing talks with the OPW and In­land Fish­eries Ire­land, among oth­ers, in an ef­fort to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion.

The cash-strapped coun­cil can’t af­ford to re­pair the weir on the River Black­wa­ter on its own.

They said they are now “get­ting a hear­ing which they hadn’t be­fore” and that other peo­ple are mak­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tions on their be­half.

How­ever, in the mean­time of­fi­cials re­vealed they are look­ing to pro­cure con­sul­tants to draw up a brief on the work that is needed to be done.

“Ide­ally we’d like a com­mit­ment for money to go for ten­der for con­sul­tants and we’d be hope­ful some­thing will be forth­com­ing from the var­i­ous govern­ment depart­ments,” one se­nior of­fi­cial told coun­cil­lors.

“We re­alise the weir is in a pre­car­i­ous state. It’s hard to pro­vide time­frames at this stage. Ide­ally we’d like to be on site some­time next year at least to carry out sta­b­li­sa­tion works,” the of­fi­cial added.

This would in­volved sheet pil­ing around the toe of the weir.

Cllr Frank O’Flynn, who had asked for an up­date, said they needed to pre­pare the brief quickly as it could take some time to get plan­ning per­mis­sion.

Cllr Noel McCarthy main­tained that once the con­sul­tants’ re­port is fi­nalised they will need to meet the OPW to get the project pushed over the line, “oth­er­wise it could be put on the long finger”.

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