Wednesday 21 July 2010

Surfers raise fears over €6m pier plan

SOME OF Ireland’s top surfers yesterday expressed concern about the impact a planned €6 million pier at Doolin could have on one of Ireland’s best-known waves. Last month Clare County Council lodged plans for the pier, which is expected to increase passenger numbers going to the Aran Islands from Doolin.

However, an online petition has been signed by 2,700 people concerned over the impact the proposed pier development would have on the waves at Crab Island and Doolin Point.

Footprint’s 380-page Surfing Europe guide describes the “Crab Island” wave as Ireland’s answer to the legendary “Pipeline” wave in Hawaii and one of Ireland’s top five waves.

Veteran surfer Kevin Cavey, who is widely credited with introducing surfing into Ireland in 1964, said he was opposed to the pier development if the council would not be carrying out detailed studies into the possible impact.

Mr Cavey said: “It is important for all concerned that the council satisfies itself and surfers that the pier will not impact on the waves there. The council and the surfers should be able to reach a compromise on what is planned.”

Three-times Irish senior surf champion John McCarthy yesterday described the wave off Crab Island as “the perfect wave”.

“Let’s build a pier for Doolin, but in doing so, the council must be mindful of the prize jewel and the world-class wave that is there,” he said. “It is really important we look after this asset.”

The West Coast Surf Club has lodged a preliminary submission outlining its concerns to the council and plans to lodge a more detailed submission before the August 13th deadline. Spokesman Richard Donworth said: “The current pier design will destroy Doolin Point and may harm Crab with a refraction wave.”

Long-time surfer Tom Doidge Harrison said: “Crab Island and Doolin Point are unique locations where waves right out of the top drawer of the world’s limited surfing resources break.

“Many county councils of the world would pay millions of euro to have these resources at their shores and some have even tried. Yet Clare County Council is risking destroying them permanently by not allowing surfers to simply have an input at design level to create a win-win solution for this proposed pier.”

As the council is seeking planning permission from its own planning department, there is no recourse for third parties to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

Irish Times

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