CORK County Council is seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister of State at Department of Rural and Community Development and Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Sean Canney in order to speed up the process of fixing the Fermoy weir, which partly collapsed last Wednesday.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Frank O’Flynn asked the council to suspend standing orders in order to decide a plan of action for the repairs needed on the weir in the Blackwater river.
“We must make decisions and we must make them fast,” Mr O’Flynn said.
“The river Blackwater in Fermoy, often we don’t play up enough what it could do for north Cork. The tourism value of north Cork in relation to the Blackwater and especially in terms of the weir — Jack Charlton said it was one of the best fishing stretches of any river of any part of the world.”
Mr O’Flynn said there was great concern in the local area about the recent damage to the weir.
“We’re told we have applied for funding for the retention of the weir, after last Wednesday morning, half the weir now is completely gone,” he said. “We are told this is a listed building, and now half of it is gone. Hardly any flood during the week, what is going to happen when we have heavy rain? The local people and I fear that the complete weir will be gone.”
Mr O’Flynn said that Cork County Council should immediately seek a meeting with the minister to make funding available as soon as possible: “Our executives and our engineering department have done tremendous work in this area, and have put a plan in place, they have the costings, they know exactly what it is going to cost. I am asking why is the minister dragging his feet on this.”
Fine Gael Cllr Noel McCarthy said they were told at a meeting with Minister Sean Coin in October it would be 22 months before anyone would be on the river.
“We need to see if we can get this timeline reduced. Council did what they were asked to do by the Department, but someone, inland fisheries, or communications need to take responsibility for the project.”