Cork County Council is committed to providing every infrastructure assistance possible to develop one of the country’s largest fishing ports and aid companies intent on exploring for oil and gas off the south coast.
County manager Martin Riordan, who gave the assurance, said he recognised there was great potential for oil and gas industries to exploit the natural resources under the sea bed and wanted to aid such economic activity in any way he could.
He described as timely a plea from Cllr Jerry Sullivan for more support for undersea exploitation of natural resources.
The Fine Gael councillor wants further input by the council into the development of the port at Castletownbere which, he insisted, could be a vital staging-post for future undersea exploration.
“We will look at feasibility studies and interact with (exploration) companies,” Mr Riordan said.
Cllr Sullivan said while Castletownbere was first and foremost a fishing port and the largest for landing white fish in the country, it should also be looked at for fostering other industries.
Earlier this year a €40m pier extension was opened at the deep water quay.
“This quay makes Castletownbere ideal for the service of off-shore oil and gas industry. The port is well suited as it can reduce the cost and time travelling to Dunquin oil field as well as others including Cuchulan, Droumbeg, Newgrange and Spanish Point,” the Eyeries-based councillor said.
He maintained that Castletownbere has the additional advantage of being “the second safest natural harbour in the world, with seven miles of safe anchorage,” making it ideal as a base for exploration companies.
“Plans are already in place for an extra 1,000 metres of deep water quay, providing 18 metres of water at low tide. Cork County Council has already acknowledged the port as a service point, having stated so in the recent local area plans,” Cllr O’Sullivan added.
He said community groups, businesses, shipping companies, fishing organisations and politicians had all joined together to further promote the port.
He was backed by Goleen-based Cllr Dermot Sheehan who said plans to create a larger deep water quay would increase the port’s capabilities.
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