Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has said that the refusal by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to fund dredging works in local authority fisheries harbours is penny wise but pound foolish. He made the comments after the February meeting of Waterford Council, where he had raised the issue of funding harbour improvements.
“The Department is quite prepared to provide us with funding to undertake structural improvements to our fishery piers and harbours. These are important works and the funding is very welcome, however its doesn’t make much sense when the same Department refuses to make money available to local authorities to maintain these same piers and harbours.
“Cé Heilbhic is a perfect example. The Government is happy to invest money in strengthening works to improve the pier and the breakwater, but in low tides the mouth of the harbour is impassable to all but the smallest of boats.
“The harbour badly needs to be dredged to remove a build up of sand and silt. Not only is this impacting the local fishing community, but it may also have an impact on the ability of the lifeboat station to provide its essential emergency services on Dungarvan Bay and adjacent waters.
“This is bureaucratic nonsense at its best. I am calling on Minister McConalogue to intervene directly to address this ridiculous loophole that has hamstrung Waterford Council and harbour-users over recent years. “