Council in Talks To Open Emergency Route Onto The Great Island

By Seamus Whelehan

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Cork County Council are in preliminary talks with An Garda Siochana and Fota Estate to use its road network as an emergency route onto the Great Island.
A series of roads were constructed on the estate to accommodate the Irish Open Golf Championship in 2001 to ease pressure on the Islands main artery during the event.
Senior Engineer Ger O’Hora told the Cobh and Glanmire Municipality that a draft proposal has been drawn up for access to the Great Island, however further discussions need to take place with the Owners of Fota Estate and the Gardaí.
He said the local authority also need to assess Fota’s road network, to make sure the access roads are capable of sustaining the emergency traffic.
Mr O’Hora said funding has already been identified for the emergency works to take place.
The news comes as Councillor Cathal Rasmussen tabled a motion at the November sitting of the borough.
The Labour Cllr told the meeting while there is an emergency plan in place for Cobh it was “not workable.”
He said “the reason why it was not workable is because there is no emergency route into Cobh”
The Cobh based Cllr said the only road onto the Island was blocked by fallen trees last month as ex-hurricane Ophelia left a path of destruction, as it wreaked havoc across the country.
“As Council employees worked to free the road, ambulance crews had to man handle a stretcher out through fallen trees like something in a war zone, to a waiting ambulance on the opposite side.” Commented Cllr Rasmussen.
The Ferry from Glenbrook to Carrigaloe was not operational at the time due to the extreme weather conditions.
Cllr Sinead Sheppard who backed her fellow Cllr said a plan was drawn up a number of years ago for a new road onto the island but is currently gathering dust.
The Fine Gael Cllr who is set to raise the issue of the Fota Road at next month’s Southern Committee said “I know we are not going to get the €58 million for the new road but we need to ring fence money to make the road safer by reinforcing walls, rebuilding walls and putting light there.”
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy said “the plan for the new road is that it would take out the dangerous bends. If Cork County Council are going to spend money on upgrading the emergency road inside the wall, they should instead use that money and make the new road section by section.”
While Fine Gael Cllr Anthony Barry said “there is a duty of care on the owners of Fota estate to make sure that dangerous trees or any potential hazards are removed like any land owner.”

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