A battle over rights of way in a Cork harbour town could lead to pickets being placed at its deep water quay when cruise liners start to arrive for the new season in April.
A warning was given by a county councillor that this could happen because people in Cobh are so upset with alleged rights of way being extinguished by the Port of Cork.
Cllr Diarmaid Ó Cadhla told a meeting of the Cobh/Glanmire Municipal District Council that he wasn't satisfied with claims made by the port authority that it owned a section of the deep water quay and all of the former IFI plant at Marino Point and could therefore stop people walking in both areas.
Last weekend some protestors tore down 'Do not enter' signs at a walkway at Marino Point which, another councillor said, had been a right of way since the 1980s.
The Port of Cork is planning to redevelop the plant as a bulk-handling cargo terminal.
"Liners are due to arrive on April 1 and there will be pickets if the substantive issue isn't addressed," Cllr Ó Cadhla said.
He said that the Port of Cork has tried to block off part of the quay when liners arrive, citing security reasons.
"In Liverpool when the Disney ship docked there were thousands of people around it. These rights of way have to be recognised," he said.
Cllr Kieran McCarthy said that back in the 1980s the IFI Sports and Social Club gave rights of way for people to walk around a section of the plant.
He said he himself helped put seating there for walkers.
However, Cllr McCarthy said it "would be crazy" to mount pickets when liners arrive.
Cllr Anthony Barry said he was under the impression that if the strip of land at Marino Point was used as a public walkway for 12 years or more it was a right of way and Cllr Ó Cadhla said he was right.
"I've walked it myself and it was a fantastic amenity," Cllr Barry said.
On hearing the councillors' views municipal officer Paraig Lynch said he would write to the County Solicitor's office asking it to carry out further investigations.