The high-profile duo are members of Schull Community Harbour Development Company (SCHDC), whose directors include local businessmen, fishermen, sailing club members and the principal of the community college.
They are planning to turn the harbour into a mecca for waterborne tourism by creating 225 berths and a utility building which will contain meeting rooms, offices and a storage area for community-based boats.
SCHDC secretary Stephen O’Keeffe said tourism is vital to Schull and it is important to nurture and bring it along with such a major project. “This is a cross-community venture and we’ve had huge support from locals. It is also important to note the assistance we have had in putting this project together from Cork County Council officials. Theresa White, the assistant county manager, has been extremely helpful.”
He said that it was the development company’s intention to develop the harbour for all users and “not just a place for rich people to berth their boats”.
Mr O’Keeffe said Schull was one of the finest sailing areas in the whole of northern Europe and it was intended to keep a quarter of the 225 berths for passing trade, as these would not be sold or leased out. “People on boats are good for shops, pubs, restaurants etc. They are big spenders because they don’t have the room to bring stuff with them,” Mr O’Keeffe said.
The development company’s next step will be to generate funds for the project. This will be done through local and private ventures.
“We will not be going cap in hand to the Government looking for money. We hope to raise a lot of it ourselves. We will also be looking at getting finance through the National Development Plan, National Lottery and BES funds,” Mr O’Keeffe said.