Crumbling River Blackwater weir threatening economic livelihood of Fermoy, say councillors

The weir on the River Blackwater in Fermoy is crumbling - and threatening the economic livelihood of a North Cork town, according to local councillors who have asked for remedial works to halt the damage.

Crumbling River Blackwater weir threatening economic livelihood of Fermoy, say councillors

The weir on the River Blackwater in Fermoy is crumbling - and threatening the economic livelihood of a North Cork town, according to local councillors who have asked for remedial works to halt the damage.

Cllr Frank O'Flynn asked assistant county manager, James Fogarty, about plans to repair the weir on the River Blackwater in Fermoy.

Large sections of the weir recently fell into the river and fears have been raised that little or nothing of it will remain by the time Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and various government departments finally agree to fund a €3m project to reinstate it.

Cllr O'Flynn pleaded with council officials at a meeting of the local authority's Northern Division that some remedial works be carried out on the structure before it all falls away, he said if this isn't done the results will be catastrophic in the medium term for revenue coming from salmon anglers, as fish will be hampered from getting to spawning grounds upstream.

In the shorter term, he said the water level could be lowered to such an extent it is likely to see the end of the local rowing club's very successful 100-year-old regatta.

Cllr Noel McCarthy, who lives in the town, also made the same appeal: “It's time Inland Fisheries see the importance of the weir. The council have done everything we can to speed up the work, but it's no good. We need to do something fast."

Mr Fogarty ruled out any temporary works. He said the council has sought consultants to draw up plans for its restructuring, which would cost in the region of €300,000.

He said the council has committed to funding half of the cost of this itself, but despite 'positive noises' from government departments he has still not received a firm commitment for the other half of the funding needed.

Mr Fogarty said in the meantime the council is prevented legally from going into the river and making temporary repairs:

We're out to tender for consultants for the design. There's no way around that process and we need inland fisheries' permission to go into the river. Fixing one part of it will only weaken other parts.

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