OPW yet to respond to letter over repairs to a crumbling weir in Fermoy

OPW yet to respond to letter over repairs to a crumbling weir in Fermoy

There has still been no response from the OPW to an October 31 letter from Cork county council engineers seeking grant-aid from the Government for repairs to a crumbling weir.

Standing orders were suspended at a meeting in County Hall after Cllr Frank O'Flynn said there's a major urgency surrounding the repair of the weir on the River Blackwater in Fermoy, because a 10m section of it disappeared last week.

“We must make decisions and we must make them fast. This is one of the most important rivers in the country for tourism," Cllr O'Flynn said.

The River Blackwater is famous for its salmon and trout, attracting tourists from all over the world.

He added that Jack Charlton once said it was one of the best rivers he ever fished.

The best part of half the weir is now gone. This is a listed structure. What's going to happen when the heavy rains come?

"We're going to wake up one morning and the whole thing will be gone," he said.

Cllr O'Flynn pointed out that salmon migration would be affected by the weir's collapse and the lowering of the water level upstream would also have a significant, negative impact on the local rowing club.

Cllr Noel McCarthy suggested the council seek an urgent meeting with the OPW to discuss what funding it and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) would make available towards the estimated €4.2m cost of repairing it.

He said he was very worried that the rowing club may not be able to stage its very popular regatta this summer.

Cllr McCarthy said they been told it would take 22 months before any contractor was working on the project and this simply wasn't good enough.

Cllr Deirdre O'Brien said money had to be found from somewhere as the cash-strapped council didn't have it.

Cllr Kay Dawson expressed surprise that the OPW still hadn't replied to the council communique.

"I think the department (OPW) is playing games with us," added Cllr McCarthy.

Cllr Derry Canty pointed out that the weir in Ballincollig collapsed nearly five years ago and the OPW had done nothing about it despite numerous calls to have it rebuilt.

Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy, got agreement from all councillors to write to the Minister in charge of the OPW, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran, seeking an urgent meeting with him to discuss the issue

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