Posted by: fermoyweir | June 18, 2010

FERMOY BUSINESSES MAY HAVE TO FOOT WEIR BILL -The Avondhu 17/6/2010

The weir in Fermoy is to be repaired, however it is the businesses of the town that may have to foot the bill. At a meeting of Fermoy Town Council this week councillors heard the town manager, Tom Stritch, outline the proposed plans to refurbish the town’s weir.

“It has been confirmed to me this week by solicitors acting on behalf of the council that the weir is owned by the town and therefore we are liable for the cost of its repair,” Mr Stritch said.

While a figure of €100,000 has been estimated as the cost of these repairs, the town manager said that the council must accept that this figure is an estimate and if the cost proved to be higher the town must also be prepared for this outlay.

HARD DECISION

Reading a statement prepared by all the councillors, Mayor Noel McCarthy said the decision to pay for the repairs to the weir was one of the hardest the council has ever had to make.

“The community in Fermoy had left no doubt in the public mind of their determination that the town weir should not be removed … we are all aware of the enormous financial demands that are associated with undertaking a project such as repairing the weir and at this time we can not determine the eventual cost likely to be incurred.

“Considering the financial position the town council finds itself in, to undertake this project will place a very substantial burden on the town council for the coming years. This will obviously have a negative impact on the entire community, in particular the hard pressed ratepayers,” Cllr McCarthy said.

“We were left with a no win situation because of the Government and Minister Conor Lenihan’s stance on funding for the weir. The decision we made this week is because of this stance and we have chosen to save our town weir,” Cllr McCarthy concluded.

ROWING CLUB RELIEF

Speaking after the meeting, Donal O’Keeffe of Fermoy Rowing Club indicated his relief at the decision of the town council to fund the repairs of the weir.

“We in Fermoy Rowing Club are very relieved at the decision by Fermoy Town Council to meet its obligation as the owners of Fermoy weir. We thank them for taking what we recognise was a very difficult decision, but, as the outgoing Mayor Noel McCarthy suggested, future generations would not forgive any of us if we allowed the heart and soul of our town to be ripped out,” Donal O’Keeffe told The Avondhu.

Rowing club president, Councillor John Murphy proposed the motion to fund the repair of the weir. The motion was seconded by Councillor Tadhg O’Donovan.

“There is a sigh of relief in the town this morning. Our beautiful weir will be restored to its former beauty and also this will ensure that the rowers and other users of our beautiful river will continue to enjoy the amenity,” Cllr Murphy told The Avondhu.

LONG BATTLE

“We have fought a long and hard battle against a determined campaign by officials in the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, spurred on by the Southern Regional Fisheries Board, to remove Fermoy weir.

“We are very grateful to our local TDs and councillors who have worked hard for us. We can never repay all of the people who have supported us. The anglers and the other sports clubs have spoken with one voice and told the bureaucrats that our river belongs to us, the people of the town. With less than eighty days now to save the weir, we will be monitoring the repairs,” Donal O’Keeffe concluded.

Deputy Sean Sherlock also welcomed the council’s decision: “I am glad that the town council are in a position to find a solution to this problem. This solution involved cross party support and this is how politics at local level should be conducted,” Deputy Sherlock said.

“I welcome the decision to repair the weir, this is the right thing to do,” Cllr Frank O’Flynn added.

Chris O’Donovan of Fermoy Anglers Association is also pleased with the announcement: “We are happy with the developments and we look forward to seeing the work on the fish pass beginning soon. And we are delighted that the new mayor has agreed to meet with us to discuss getting funding from other sources. We’re not happy that the ratepayers and taxpayers of Fermoy are being forced to pay for this repair when there is millions of euro available at national and European levels,” Chris O’Dovonan.

Deputy Ned O’Keeffe also welcomed the news that the weir is to be repaired. However, not everybody was happy with the announcement.

“While I want to see the weir repaired and know how important it is to the town, businesses are already under pressure and a rise in rates will only add to this,” businessman, Sean Murphy told The Avondhu.

Fermoy’s new mayor Cllr Pa O’Driscoll said they were left with no other option but to fund the repairs.

“We will go down every avenue to get funds but if this is unsuccessful the town, and ultimately the people of Fermoy, will have to foot the bill,” Cllr O’Driscoll said.

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