Tuesday 6 October 2009

Money not available for Kerry island piers

MILLIONS OF euro announced for piers for the Great Blasket Island off Co Kerry are under review and will not be spent on the island in the near future, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Gaeltacht, Community and Rural Affairs.

Some €8.5 million was announced in 2002 for the Great Blasket Island, home to writer Peig Sayers and others, immediately before a general election.

Much of the funding was to be spent on the provision of new piers at Dun Chaoin on the mainland and on the island, on the purchase of the island and on conservation of buildings.

However, a planning dispute and objections to an application for a services centre on the island proposed by majority owner Blascaod Mór Teo held up the purchase of the island by the State for seven years.

Planning was granted last October for the building, but its construction was conditional on proper piers, An Bord Pleanála said after an oral hearing.

Ferrymen were divided on the need for a services centre, but they had stressed the need for piers.

Most of the island has now been sold to the State, which plans to designate it as a national historic park.

However, money is no longer available for the piers, a spokeswoman for Roinn na Gaeltachta confirmed yesterday, saying the matter was under review.

She said inhabited islands – the Great Blasket Island is not inhabited – were now the priority as far as island piers funding was concerned.

Local councillor Seamus Cosai Fitzgerald said it was his understanding the conservation of the old village buildings could go ahead without the piers being built.

There was an acceptance locally, he said, that the funding was being reviewed given the economic circumstances.

Irish Times


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