CAMDEN Fort Meagher will be brought back under the control of the Carrigaline Municipal District, Cork County Council CEO Tim Lucey has told councillors.
The discussion at yesterday’s full council meeting was initiated by Fianna Fáil councillor Audrey Buckley after a motion to suspend standing orders was agreed to address concerns that the attraction may not reopen for the summer season.
Mr Lucey said more clarity on the future of Camden Fort Meagher will be provided at next Monday’s Southern Committee meeting.
He said “unsafe operational practices there and some structural unsafe practices” were uncovered at the fort.
“That resulted in the closure of the facility around autumn of last year,” he explained.
“There were very significant issues to be addressed. They are being worked through,” Mr Lucey said.
He said the council is also trying to source staff for the fort.
“We need to resolve staffing issues as it does need a manager for the summer period. We are also in the process of trying to recruit seasonal staff with a view to trying to get the place open.
"It is extremely difficult to get staff. The volunteer structure remains key to operating the fort, but it needs to operate under a management structure with defined purposes, hours, and procedures,” he said.
“Downtime was far from unproductive. There was significant works done inside the place. We are going to bring the operation of the centre back under the MD directorate [in Carrigaline] as well,” he said.
Ms Buckley called for better communication.
“I am very frustrated for the volunteers at Fort Camden. It is the jewel in Cork Harbour. A feasibility health and safety study has been done and I totally understand nobody can be allowed in until that was furnished.
"We would just like to know what is happening. I can’t see it opening this summer because the volunteers haven’t been communicated with. People are very upset. Going into the future we need better communication.”
“There is huge frustration locally,” said her party colleague Seamus McGrath.
“Fort Camden has been a big success. Huge credit to Cork County Council for getting behind it many years ago. We as public representatives are getting it in the neck. This is a huge facility locally. We don’t know where we stand for the coming weeks and months. We need clarity on this situation.”
Independent councillor Marcia D’Alton said councillors need to be told so they in turn can keep the public informed.
“We have had no report on Camden since we spoke about that matter in the chamber a year ago and more,” she said.
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