Posted by: fermoyweir | September 16, 2010

RED HERRINGS IN FERMOY

Dear Editor,

“The build up of gravel downstream of the weir is one of the problems that is (sic) stopped the fish from coming up the river.”

So said the Mayor of Fermoy, Councillor Pa O’Driscoll (FG) in The Avondhu (9/9/10).

Seeing as the weir saga has its origins in Fermoy Town Council’s shirking of its responsibilities as the owners of the weir for a quarter of a century, then I suppose that an attempt to shift the narrative away from the weir (and toward aspects of the riverbed which might be beyond the town council’s remit) might well make sense to our councillors.

There is no doubt that the gravel islands east of the bridge are unsightly and are changing the course of the river. However, their proposed removal is likely to be problematical.

By way of explanation, I was part of a delegation to the office of the EU Environment DG to save Fermoy Weir (property Fermoy Town Council) last year and we were told that the riverbed is protected under the EU Habitats Directive.

According to Brussels, the gravel islands could be removed but only by way of forensic, non-mechanical intervention. In theory the people of Fermoy could, en masse, wade into the river with buckets and help themselves to river washed gravel. However, a JCB would constitute a violation of the EU Habitats Directive! Bad as they are, these islands present little challenge to kayaks at present.

They must be pretty big fish, Pa O’Driscoll’s salmon of knowledge, that they can’t make their way around the gravel islands. Is the Mayor sure he’s thinking of salmon and not red herrings?

Yours sincerely,
Donal O’Keeffe.
Fermoy.

The Avondu (16/09/2010)

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