Residents hit out at Irish Water plans to close roads in Cork harbour town

Residents in a Cork Harbour town have criticised plans to close roads in the area for 40 working days to facilitate works by Irish Water.

People in Passage West have hit out at what they claimed was a lack of public consultation over the plan, which could start as early as next month, and have now launched a petition relating to it.

Irish Water wants to improve the water quality in the harbour area and late last week notice of intended temporary road closures was advertised, including a 24-hour closure of a section of the R610 from July 2 to August 31.

Annette Foley of the Passage West Pharmacy said that while the community realised the works needed to be conducted, the lack of public consultation had annoyed many and left businesses facing uncertainty over how to work around any difficulties it may cause.

“It isn’t nimby-ism,” she said. “It is genuine concern from the community as a whole.”

She said tourism and business would be affected, while she had to contact some of her customers to reassure them they would still receive their medication through the delivery service operated by her pharmacy.

Submissions with regard to the proposed closures can be received until 5pm tomorrow. One resident, Andrew Wood, said what was outlined was “unacceptable” and was effectively going to divide the village in two.

Irish Water said that in partnership with Cork County Council it was “working to end the decades-long practice of discharging untreated sewage into Cork Lower Harbour and clean up the harbour” through its investment in the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project. It said every day the equivalent of 20,000 wheelie bins of raw sewage is released into Cork Lower Harbour from the communities living around it.

We recently completed the laying of the sewer on Back St, Passage West, through the use of directional boring instead of open trenching, reducing the length of time required for the road closure on Back St significantly, from 12 weeks to five weeks,” a spokesman for Irish Water said.

“Unfortunately, the works in the Strand Road cannot be completed using this method. The safest way to complete these works with the least impact is to close the road.”

The spokesman said the proposed road closures, if granted by the local authority, will cause inconvenience for residents and businesses but added that there would ultimately be major benefits for local communities.

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