A county councillor is concerned about the lack of spending on piers and harbours
A fresh call has been made for Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine to meet with the executive and a delegation of public representatives of Donegal County Council to discuss the ongoing concerns from the public and fishing communities across the county.
Killybegs councillor Niamh Kennedy has highlighted what she has described as the serious lack of investment in small piers and harbours in the county.
The Independent councillor says the issue is hampering fishing activities and causing safety concerns among many local fishermen. At the February meeting of the Donegal Municipal District, Cllr Kennedy brought forward a motion expressing the ongoing concerns and the lack of communication between department officials and the public. A letter was sent to the department in Clonakilty but she says there has been no reply to the county council. At the April meeting Cllr Kennedy requested a follow up and is again calling for action.
“On an annual basis Donegal County Council will apply for funding for necessary works to be carried out throughout the county, the costs are rising year on year due to lack of previous investment, piers are becoming neglected because the money is not allocated to maintain and to carry out necessary works, we are closing down our piers slowly but surely, we are an Island nation, a County surrounded by the coast and we have been ignored for too long,” she said.
“The annual budget given to the local authorities last year was €2.5million for the whole country, Donegal received €300,000. This is simply unworkable. This year the allocation was decreased to €172,500.
“In the Donegal MD this year we received €18,000 for Creevy pier and €30,000 to Bruckless slipway. No money granted for safety lights, or navigational aids. This is extremely frustrating, even cranes on our piers which are in need of repair may be out of action for months on end while we wait for a funding allocation to have repairs carried out.
“The council applied for new aids navigation for Inver pier and an upgrade aid navigation for Donegal bay to assist the Donegal Bay Water bus, which is such an important tourist facility for Donegal town. No funding allocated.”
She said the strategic pier at Rathmullan is for a long time in a state of poor repair and needs an investment of approximately €4million.
“Port at Inver is looking for investment in a new slipway at the pier which is again a very busy pier and again no funding mechanism.
“Portaloos are used at many piers because of the lack of proper facilities for fishermen or families, for rowing clubs and other water sporting activities. Proper investment is needed desperately.”