Warning over 'terrifying' condition of Ballincollig’s weir

Warning over 'terrifying' condition of Ballincollig’s weir
 The damaged weir at Ballincollig regional parkPicture: Eddie O'Hare

A FORMER Cork County Council archaeologist has described the state of Ballincollig’s weir as “terrifying” and urged immediate action before someone is killed.

The historic weir collapsed in late 2014 having being built in the 1790s to divert water to the local gunpowder mills. It had been in a state of disrepair for years prior to the collapse.

Its deterioration meant the weir was rendered accessible to the public. The weir was then blocked off from public use by Cork County Council but locals merely scale the railings to walk directly onto it.

Catryn Power, a retired Cork County archaeologist said repair costs for the weir have spiralled in the last 18 years due to a lack of action.

“I am a regular walker at both the western end of the park and at the eastern end and the dangerous state of the weir is terrifying,” Ms Power said. “I have previously commented to Cork County Council on the danger that the weir at the western end presents.

“When I was employed by Cork County Council as county archaeologist the cost of preserving and repairing the weir was €100,000 around 2001 and now the cost is estimated at about €800,000. Why has the issue not been addressed? A number of accidents have taken place in the water at the weir. Luckily no-one has been killed by drowning or a fall. 

"It is simply not good enough to put up signs indicating ‘no swimming etc’ as well as a railing which is attractive to children who will simply climb it. On the one hand, children and adults are being encouraged to use the park but on the other hand, safety is not on a high priority. It is important that the weir be repaired.”

Local Fine Gael councillor Derry Canty has long warned that somebody could be killed or seriously injured at the location, which is a popular gathering spot for locals.

JB Barry & Partners were commissioned by the local authority to examine options at the weir in 2017. They identified four options, including a repair of the weir and a new fish pass mid-river, costing up to €500,000, none of which were considered value for money.

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