PLANS for two major industrial developments in Cork Harbour have raised major concerns about the potential impact on tourism int he area.
Noel Condon, chairman of Camden Fort Meagher, is worried about potential disturbances if either or both the Ringaskiddy incinerator and the Port of Cork Liquefied Natural Gas development plans go ahead.
The incinerator saga has rumbled for years, with a planning decision due on September 12, while the Port of Cork plans were unveiled earlier this month.
The Port is in talks with US-based NextDecade Corporation about a development that would see natural gas imported from the US and enter the Irish gas supply network at Whitegate.
“If you have the incinerator going in at one side and the tanker going in at the other, where is it leaving tourism?” Mr Condon asked.
“It is a valid point. They are talking about €300m for this natural gas development. It is not that I am against it but when you go up to Fort Camden and look out over the water you could see an incinerator on one side and the tanker of the other. Crosshaven will be most affected by this.
“At the end of the day, what is the balance going to be for the people of the harbour themselves?” But Michael McCarthy, commercial manager of the Port of Cork, said nothing would be done without extended talks with local groups.
“It is very early days and we will be consulting with everyone, it is just that there is nothing to consult about at the moment,” he said. “This is a concept that NextDecade are looking at with us, but it is very much at a preliminary discussion stage.
“The way we have always done things here at the Port is to have discussions with every stakeholder.” Crosshaven is home to the Royal Cork Yacht Club and Mr Condon also raised the impact on sailing, saying: “If the plans go ahead on the Dognose, which has been used for decades, you are going to have sailing interrupted. Because a marker for sailing was always there.” Mr McCarthy said any impact on sailing would be ‘minimal’.
“Anything that goes in will be after full consultation and after a full planning application. It is an ideal location because of the proximity of the gas-powered stations and the refinery. If there is an impact on sailing it would be minimal. We have a beautiful harbour and we all love it.”