'Talk of a Marina in Youghal is just talk', says Martin Finn of Youghal Maritime Development Group. Currently, there are no visitor moorings, no landing jetties, no berths and only one of the five slipways is still usable. Here, the pressure group spokesman responds to Afloat's report of much needed pontoons for the south coast harbour and gives an update on marine leisure facilties in the County Cork town.
Youghal is one of the oldest ports in the country, with a history dating over 1,000 years. Still today Youghal is working port, immediately adjacent to the sea and offering all tide access to smaller shipping. Youghal is also a fishing port of repute, and combined with its position in a resort town it is popular with day fishers as well as the local fishermen supplying its restaurants. That same resort location, and access to the beautiful Blackwater river, mean that Youghal is popular with leisure sailors of all types; and it would make a stunning location for a new marina development. This would serve local needs but also open up the whole South Coast of Ireland as a cruising route - a route which is currently unconnected between Cork Harbour and Dunmore East.
None of this is new. It has been said before, and repeated in numerous policy statements from Local, Regional and National bodies. Yet the marine facilities of Youghal, so often promised or planned or noted as essential - have never been given the investment they need. It is a sad fact that for the last few decades have only been marked by slow deterioration. Today, though it’s a disgrace to have to admit it, even the most meagre of Ireland’s harbours can offer facilities greater than our own. At present this fantastic town and beautiful harbour, so well positioned, can offer a visitor mooring to not a single boat. There are no visitor moorings, no landing jetties, no berths and only one of the 5 slipways is still usable. Talk of a Marina is just talk.
With this backdrop, we formed Youghal Maritime Development Group as a pressure group of citizens who are simply not sanguine to leave the deterioration to continue. We know that leisure maritime development is both a huge opportunity and an essential ingredient in the tourism offering for this area – without it the economy of this region will be forever restricted.
And so we have worked quietly for 18 months to cut through the myths and rumours, to research the history and to understand the issues which have stood in our way for so long. Building from this we have built a consensus amongst representatives of local maritime leisure users, fishermen, tourism, commerce and elected officials. We have drawn up a 6 stage plan of projects which we believe will create the facilities that this area needs. It should be noted that all of these are envisioned as public amenities, for the good of Youghal and this area. We also created a Facebook page (Build a Marina in Youghal) to act as a guide to our ultimate destination and to attract public interest and support. This support has been forthcoming and virtually unanimous. And the support has already reached such levels that we are able ask questions and press for results from the Officials who hold the purse strings. We have been afforded the opportunity to present our findings and recommendations to all levels of government over the last few months. We have been pleased with the positive responses we’ve received – but as yet no firm commitments.
Rumours have spread recently of imminent developments, the first substantial investment in Youghal’s marine infrastructure in a generation. We’d love to think that these rumours are true and we are working to make it so. But we believe that such rumours are, as yet, premature. Our case is being heard, and it's undeniable. We will continue to drive for development here in Youghal, and hope that first fruit of our efforts will come soon.
On Behalf of
Youghal Maritime Development Group