PORT OF CORK says it will continue to erect security barriers as cruise liners dock in Cobh, despite being prevented from doing so by protesting locals last weekend.
Meetings between the port authority and locals regarding a dispute over public access to the Five Foot Way on Deepwater Quay have stalled with protestors — who stress they are not picketing against the cruise liners — set to “escalate” their efforts as more cruise ships come in.
Locals are unhappy that the Port of Cork has been closing the stretch which they claim is a public right of way — from the Annie Moore statue to the train station at Whitepoint — when cruise vessels are docking and leaving the port.
On Sunday, Port of Cork staff were stopped from erecting barriers as the Marina Cruise Liner docked. A statement from the Port of Cork stated they have no intention of stopping the practice of closing off the Deepwater Quay.
“Due to the requirements of the International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPS Code) and for health and safety concerns, access to pedestrians and vehicles may be restricted while cruise ships are berthing at Cobh Deepwater Quay,” a spokesperson said.
“Generally, Cobh Deepwater Quay will close to the public for approximately 30 minutes during berthing procedures. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank [the public] for [their] co-operation and understanding.”
Councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla (IND) has called for talks between the two sides to resume.
“I have been told that the Port of Cork are reassessing what they are doing at the Five Foot Way. Meetings have stalled but local people are anxious that talks resume as they don’t want this going on,” he added.
Local Labour Councillor Cathal Rasmussen told The Echo earlier this month that he recognised the locals’ right to protest but urged them to stop due to the impression it was giving to arriving tourists.
The next cruise vessel due into Cobh, the Saga Sapphire, is set to arrive on Saturday at 6.30am.