Posted by: fermoyweir | May 31, 2010

Rowing club says it may close if weir is replaced – The Irish Times – Monday, May 31, 2010

FRANK McDONALD Environment Editor

THE ROWING club in Fermoy, Co Cork, has warned it may have to close if an ancient weir on the river Blackwater is replaced by a 60m-wide “rock ramp pass” to allow salmon to swim upriver.

Donal O’Keeffe, honorary secretary of Fermoy Rowing Club, said the impetus for this development was coming from the Southern Regional Fisheries Board “which is pushing a campaign to remove every weir in the country”.

He said the proposed rock ramp pass “would cause the river to shrink upstream and we believe this will close our club”.

The saga began in 2003 when salmon were unable to get through the damaged weir during that summer’s drought. An anonymous complaint to the European Commission’s environment directorate resulted in a proposal to replace the weir.

The Department of Natural Resources claimed only replacement of the weir would satisfy the EU. However, Mr O’Keeffe said the club had learned on a Brussels visit that a repair of the central fish pass would satisfy the EU.

Minister of State Conor Lenihan gave the weir’s owners, Fermoy Town Council, a deadline of the end of this year to reinstate the damaged fish pass and, if this did not work, he would impose the department’s preferred replacement of the weir.

“The council is pleading poverty. Minister Lenihan says he cannot offer them State funding as repair is not, according to his advice, the optimal solution for the problem of fish passage,” Mr O’Keeffe said. “The Southern Regional Fisheries Board . . . will only allow in-river work to be carried out in the months of June, July and August. That leaves less than 100 days to save the weir or see it replaced with a rock ramp pass.”

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Responses

  1. Cute whores always find the best way to transfer the maximum amount of public money to developers. The cost of the new fish pass will greatly exceed the cost of repair of the existing weir. Undoubtedly some Fianna Fail developer has already been promised the contract for the new fish pass so it is necessary for the powers that be to get the new fish pass project over the line and make it as difficult as possible for the Town Council to repair the weir. I see little hope in pleading with the two local Fianna Fail TDs in this matter.

    All the arguments are in favour of repair, the current state of public finances, preservation of our heritage, the needs of the rowing and other local clubs, preserving the ecological balance that exists since the Cistercian monks build the original weir on Barnane around 1170. The strongest argument is the cost. It makes sense to repair the weir, but I bet this will not happen.


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