RESIDENTS of Passage West, Monkstown, and Glenbrook are outraged at the lack of a public consultation around the two-month closure of the R610 road from Passage West.
Irish water is undertaking an extensive project to clean up Cork Harbour, which will necessitate the closure, as construction of a sewer pipe takes place.
Every day, the equivalent of 20,000 wheelie bins of raw sewage is released into Cork Lower Harbour, from the surrounding communities.
Irish Water, in partnership with Cork County Council, have been working to end this decades-long practice and clean up the harbour, through investment in the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project.
The project involves the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant at Shanbally, 14 pumping stations, 30km of new pipelines, and the repairing of 25km of old pipes.
Contractors, Ward and Burke, are seeking approval from the council for the closure from Strand Road to Glenbrook Wharf/Bath Terrace from Monday, July 2 to Friday, August 31.
A further road closure, in Passage West, from the PACE centre to the Oysterhaven boatyard, will be sought from late August to early September. There will be no through traffic from Monkstown to Passage West and a 25-kilometre diversion. While residents are pleased at the overall project, they say the closure was not discussed with them and will have a huge impact on their lives and on business in the area.
Daniel Boland owns the Ensign Bar, in Monkstown, along with his brother, Gavin. They are worried about losing business.
“We could really struggle. 60% of our business comes from the Passage direction, but if they can’t use the road, they might not come,” he said.
“People in the area still don’t know about it. It’s not great how Irish Water went about it. We’d really like to meet with them and discuss it,” he added.
Business owner, Annette Foley, of Passage West Pharmacy, said the closure was dividing a community in two. “Passage West, Glenbrook, and Monkstown are effectively the one community of the lower harbour. This division will curtail a lot of the services to no longer be available for a large proportion of the community. It will make accessing services such as the GP, pharmacy, local shops, and post office very difficult”.
Services to the community should continue despite the work, according to Ms Foley.
Cork South-Central TD, Micheál Martin, said a blanket ban on car access to the town is “unthinkable and impractical” for any sustained length of time.
“Greater respect, and due regard, for commercial ratepayers would have been expected, but, sadly, their plight seems to have been ignored”.
A spokesperson for Irish Water said they have been working with the local community to minimise the impact of the works.
“We recently completed the laying of the sewer on Back Street, Passage West, through the use of directional boring, instead of open trenching, reducing the length of time required for the road closure on Back Street significantly, from 12 weeks to five weeks. Unfortunately, the works in the Strand Road cannot be completed using this method. The safest way to complete these works with the least impact is to close the road.”