Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness won the backing of all Dungarvan-Lismore District Councillors for his motion that calls on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to allow his Department fund the preparatory works required to carry out dredging at Cé Heilbhic. McGuinness brought a formal, written motion before the July meeting of the Dungarvan-Lismore District Council.
There is a dire need for dredging at Cé Heilbhic. Fishermen have experienced great difficulty in entering or leaving the harbour for some time, due to the build up of silt and sand. This situation is impacting the ability for local fishermen to effectively and safely carry out their work.
“Heilbhic is also strategically important due to the presences of the lifeboat station, which covers Dungarvan Bay and adjacent waters. There are concerns locally that the lifeboat may be unable to launch in an emergency situation – which puts lives at risk.
“The build up of sand and silt at Heilbhic has taken place over several years and is getting worse as time goes on. Not only is it hampering the fishing industry locally, but it has also added more risk and hardship to an already dangerous occupation.
“As it stands, the Department of the Marine can provide funding to dredge harbours such as Cé Heilbhic, however they refuse to fund the necessary preparatory work that is legally required before dredging can take place – this includes assessments and planning that can sometimes cost as much as the dredging itself.
“The ball is firmly in the Government’s court on this issue. My hope is that the cross-party backing that I secured for this motion will add to the pressure on Minister McConalogue to make this common-sense amendment to his Department’s funding regulations.