Trader may deny ac­cess to Youghal quay­side

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Christy Parker

A ship­ping trader says he may again deny pub­lic ac­cess to Youghal’s quay­side un­less the area’s de­te­ri­o­rat­ing in­fra­struc­ture is ad­dressed.

Youghal Ship­ping and Stor­age agent Iain Welsh says a dam­aged 60m stretch of tar­ma­cadam road on the quay­side is un­safe, while a small sec­tion of the quay­side has col­lapsed into the river.

The agent says he re­cently re­opened the route af­ter a year-long clo­sure sparked com­plaints, be­cause dry weather had al­le­vi­ated the road’s con­di­tion.

Youghal Ship­ping and Stor­age Ltd has traded on Green’s Quay since 1989 un­der a 30year lease with Cork County Coun­cil. The com­pany pri­mar­ily im­ports timber and steel for on­ward road trans­porta­tion and also han­dles some ex­port pro­duce. It em­ploys a hand­ful of peo­ple.

The quay is gated at three points, one of which leads to a river­side walk known as the Slob Bank, which Cork Coun- ty Coun­cil tourism.

Mr Welsh says pub­lic ac­cess is for­bid­den on safety grounds 12 hours be­fore and af­ter ships berth, while cargo is stock­piled, and dur­ing sub­se­quent clean-ups, all of which can take “up to five days”. The area is pop­u­lar for fish­ing and walk­ing, with panoramic views of the Black­wa­ter and the west Water­ford hin­ter­land.

All par­ties agree that the road, with its 200ml ruts, is un­suit­able for trucks is en­hanc­ing for car­ry­ing 40-tonne loads.

Mr Welsh says the lease only cov­ers the solid, con­crete part of the quay­side, with the road be­ing the coun­cil’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The es­ti­mated cost of re­pair­ing the sec­tion is €60,000. The agent says the coun­cil de­clined an of­fer to share the cost equally and in­stead twice paid a con­trac­tor to con­duct tem­po­rary re­pairs.

The coun­cil has al­ready failed in two ap­pli­ca­tions for fund­ing. A third ap­pli­ca­tion, filed un­der costal man­age­ment, is ex­pected to fail be­cause the quay is a work­ing port.

Mr Welsh claims he lost a con­tract for ex­port­ing wood chips af­ter the client feared loose ma­te­rial might con­tam­i­nate the ship­ment.

He now also states that sea ero­sion has claimed a chunk of the quay­side cor­ner.

“Fish­er­men like to stand at that spot and if it de­te­ri­o­rates fur­ther I will con­sider clos­ing the area again,” he warns.

Cork County Coun­cil did not re­spond to in­quiries.

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