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Lack of Joined-up Thinking in Cork Harbour

6th October 2017
Haulbowline Waste Tip as seen from the channel between Haulbowline and Spike Island Haulbowline Waste Tip as seen from the channel between Haulbowline and Spike Island Photo: Oisin MacSweeney

Meitheal Mara, the Cork boatyard and maritime community organisation which has carried out many years of development work highlighting Cork’s maritime and boat-building tradition has protested the exclusion of boat access to Haulbowline Island in the €60m remediation plan for the East Tip dump left behind there in Cork Harbour after the closure of Irish Steel, writes Tom MacSweeney.

This dump has been the source of controversy for many years and there is continuing disagreement over pollution effects into the harbour and on the health of harbour residents.

“A €60m. spend, but no access to the water for boats, this is not be joined-up thinking” Meitheal Mara says.

The organisation was a member of the design group for the Spike Island Masterplan, just across from Haulbowline Island, which resulted in the European Tourism Award to Spike at the weekend.

Meitheal Mara has campaigned for several years for more public access points, slipways and launching points along the River Lee. It has made several submissions to local authorities and is credited with the revival of boating and development of maritime interest in city areas. Amongst its activities has been restoration of currach rowing on the Lee at Blackrock and the development of the annual Ocean-to-City rowing race in Cork Harbour, which has become a big international event.

The organisation made a submission to the planners of the Haulbowline remediation project, proposing options for boat access and emphasising the importance of this, but has been ignored.

“It is extraordinary that Meitheal Mara was involved in Spike, but its views have been dismissed on Haulbowline. “

Indeed, it is and where does the lack of such provision leave the international sailing centre which was touted by the Government to be located on the island, if there is not boating provision?

“It is doubtful if a dump of toxic waste of this nature, in the centre of Cork Harbour, would have been tolerated for so long if it were in Dublin Bay,” environmental and local interests commented. “The plan, which is for a park and other facilities is welcome, the removal of the dump should have been done many years ago, but to exclude boating access shows a lack of joined-up thinking and is appalling.”

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