Bantry Harbour embarks on €24m revamp

The Port of Cork is shortly to set sail on what it hopes will be the first phase of a €24m redevelopment of facilities at Bantry Harbour which will encourage more seaborne trade and cruise line business.

The first phase of the plan will be a €7m upgrade of facilities at the town pier, which needs remedial work, and widening to accommodate buses which can meet tenders from cruise liners.

Denis Healy, the deputy chief executive of the Port of Cork, said that dredging would also take place to ensure that larger vessels could pull alongside it.

“We are also going to create an amenity area adjacent to the railway pier, and a new quay wall which will accommodate a 16-berth marina,” said Mr Healy.

Money for the project is already available.

About €3.5m is being given in government grants, a further €1.5m is coming from the reserves of the former harbour commissioners, and the Port of Cork will make up the remaining €2m from borrowings.

The county council currently owns the pier and is preparing to transfer it onto the Port of Cork to facilitate the development.

The council has been working closely with port management to ensure more business in West Cork from the cruise line companies.

Mr Healy said a couple of years ago, Bantry Harbour Commissioners drew up a plan to make significant improvements to the port infrastructure, and this would be taken on by the Port of Cork in phases into the future.

He said the overall plan involved the creation of 150 yacht berths within the inner harbour from the town pier down towards Wolfe Tone Square.

An embankment would also be created to provide shelter. “The plan also involves dredging in the inner harbour to remove contaminated silt so that there is water in the harbour at all times, regardless of the tides,” said Mr Healy.

In addition, all the marina and quay walls would be strengthened. Mr Healy said the Port of Cork would be examining where it could get funding for the remaining €17m in developments.

Assistant county manager James Fogarty said: “Cruise ships and passengers can use the refurbished and widened pier. It is part of a joint approach between the county council and Port of Cork to attract more cruise ships to Bantry itself.

“It’s to be welcomed as it has the potential to increase tourist numbers to the town. Cork County Council want to see this investment happen in Bantry as soon as possible to kick start other development in the town.”

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