PROTESTORS picketing Port of Cork sites in Cobh due to a dispute over public rights of way have been asked to stop, due to concerns that it is giving a bad impression to cruise liner tourists.
Locals are aggrieved that access to the Five Foot Way on Deepwater Quay has been restricted when cruise liners are docked.
However, the Port of Cork has said it needs to close the area for health and safety reasons when incoming cruise liners are tying up and taking off.
The 580 passengers arriving on the first cruise liner of the season on Monday, the Astoria, were met with protesters and more demonstrations are planned if an agreement is not reached.
The protestors have moved to clarify they are not picketing against the liners but some local councillors urged them to pursue the matter through other avenues.
Councillor Cathal Rasmussen (LAB) told The Echo: “People are entitled to protest but I am concerned about the perception that this is giving out to visitors to the town.
“Talks had begun between the local group and the Port of Cork and they should sit down and try and come to a resolution.
“If people feel that strongly and can prove there is a right of way there, then there is a legal course that they can take rather than protest in front of tourists.
“Cobh is a tourist town and we welcome the liners and visitors and common sense needs to prevail. I would ask people to deter from protesting because there is nothing to be gained from it,” he added.
In a statement, the protest group said: “This walkway has been a traditional right of way for over 150 years and has been enjoyed by generations of Cobh people and visitors to the town alike.
“We reject [Port of Cork] claims that this closure is on grounds of either security or public safety. Thousands of ship’s passengers walk exactly the same route without any additional safety equipment,” it adds.
Legislation under the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 requires all rights of way to be registered before 2021 but Cork County Council cannot register the land while the dispute is ongoing.