Plans for a multimillion-euro revamp of an important weir on the River Blackwater in Cork have been put on hold until May, at the earliest, much to the concern of councillors and anglers.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) had advised Cork County Council it would have to repair the damaged lower weir in Fermoy and create a new channel for salmon and trout to access a fish ladder, which would enable fish swim upstream to spawning grounds.
The council was expected to carry out the work last month but announced it was being postponed to October.
In the interim, the council realised it was obliged to apply for planning permission for both projects and would also have to acquire some land to create a new channel to the fish ladder.
Councillors on the Fermoy/Charleville municipal district authority were told that the planning and land acquisition could not be completed by next month and were further informed by the IFI that, as a result of the delays, work would not be allowed to start until May.
Works are prohibited by law as debris created by construction could destroy fish eggs laid in the area.
Local councillors Noel McCarthy and Deirdre O’Brien said they were concerned and disappointed by yet another delay.
Council officials said the IFI had indicated it would have given a derogation to proceed with the works in the prohibitive season of October-May if it had not been for the planning issue.
The now abolished town council had agreed to pay for repairing the weir, the cost of which was not disclosed at this week’s meeting of the district council.
However, it emerged the former town council did not have the capability to finance the estimated €2.2m to construct the new fish channel. Council officials confirmed they would be seeking government funding.
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