Surfers in Co Clare and around the world are claiming that a proposed pier development at Doolin will ruin one of the world's top surf spots, Crab Island.
The breaks at Crab Island feature in the Footprints guide to the top 100 surf spots in Europe, and it is thought to be one of the top three spots in Ireland to surf.
The new pier protruding from the coast in the lee of Crab Islandhas been put forward by the Council as a means to enable ferry owners easier access to the Aran Islands route. However, the ferry owners have themselves objected to the proposed structure as insufficient to withstand western swells or provide adequate cover. They have lobbied the council for changes to the design.
The positioning of the new pier, some 100 metres south of the existing structure, could cause wave reflection and refraction to a degree that would kill the wave at Crab Island entirely, and cause a classic regional surf spot to be lost forever. Developing the pier on same site as the existing pier, which would cause less disruption, was rejected out of hand by the council as more expensive.
The southern option was said to have a 'lesser impact on existing users' of the area, howver, no mention of the wave or of surfing is made in the Council's submission documents, nor was there any public consultation, as recommended by a report made this year. The project has already gone to tender.
Among the objectors who have made formal written objections to the pier project are surf groups, tourists from the UK and US, and those whose livelihoods rely on surf tourism, such as surf clubs and board shapers.
The objections have also been echoed on surf sites in America and Australia.