A county councillor has warned that a fatality could occur at any time at Ballincollig Regional Park unless the local weir is repaired.
Recent good weather has seen people flock to the weir to sit on it or paddle in the water. Fine Gael representative Derry Canty said he has warned Cork County Council officials that a surge in water levels from a release at Inniscarra Dam could catch people off guard and lead to a tragic incident.
The weir was built in the 1790s to divert water from the River Lee to the canals at the Gunpowder Mills. It collapsed in December 2014, causing the canals to dry up as water was not building up behind it.
They are now filled with weeds and a build-up of debris and silt.
“I've been told it will cost approximately €800,000 to fix,” said Councillor Canty.
“The canals have gone into disrepair. Cork County Council has washed their hands of it, it seems.
“Enda Kenny came to visit when he was Taoiseach and we asked him if he would help us. He said he would do what he could.
“Then when we followed up on it we were pushed from department to department. We were told by everyone that Cork County Council owns the weir.
“We've heard every excuse.
“The canals are drying up. The main water coming down from Iniscarra Dam is shrinking in the middle all the time and the kids are walking up and down there in the summer.
“If the ESB start the hydro and leave out a surge and kids are playing down there paddling, they could be caught off guard. While the weir operational there it stopped all that.
“There is a build up of mud and the height of the canals are higher than the water at the moment.
“I have warned Cork County Council that If anything happens, the finger will be pointed a the local authority because they have been warned about it.
“It's an amenity that has been left to die,” he added.
He has encouraged the local authority to seek funding streams from several different Government sources without delay.
The weir was examined by engineering consultants earlier this year who say it could cost up to half a million euro to fully repair. Four options were identified including a full repair, a pumping station, a low flow channel pipe and leaving the weir unrepaired but installing sheet piles with the upstream sluice fully closed.
The Council said repairing the weir is not considered desirable by the fisheries and diverting River Lee flows could meet resistance from Heritage Ireland.