O’Cadhla Hopes To Make Cobh A Great Island Again

by Seamus Whelehan

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Independent Cllr Diarmaid O’Cadhla says he’s hooked on “spawning” new industry for Cobh.
This week the Irish language activist called on the local authority to review its infrastructure in an effort to support the resurgence of a commercial fishing fleet in the harbour town.
Fishing in Cobh has long ceased as many found it difficult to compete with European Super trawlers as they hovered up shoals of fish just a few miles off Roche’s Point.
Under EU rules many of the world’s largest fishing vessels can fish within 13 miles of Irish waters but domestic vessels are banned from catching most species.
Cllr O’Cadhla told the October sitting of the borough “based in Cork Harbour we are on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, still the richest fishing ground in Europe. There is a massive resource there that should provide fishing trawlers, fish processing and a whole ancillary industry.”
While Cobh thrives on tourism there is a large number of residents who commute out of Cobh daily to work because of a lack of “native industry.”
It’s estimated that the fishing industry in Castletownbere, West Cork is landing up to €100million worth of fish annually despite the strict EU quotas, commented Cllr O’Cadhla.
Although many Cllr’s agreed with the sentiment of the agenda item they all felt the motion was ill timed.
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy who backed Cllr O’Cadhla said he felt the Cllr “may have missed the boat in regards to fishing in Cobh.”
“While we have a big resource, the EU robbed us of that. How we can utilise that maybe an audit is the way forward” he said
Labour Cllr Cathal Rasmussen said having trawlers would conflict with the cruise liners coming to Cobh.
“I’m quite sure the Port of Cork would have an issue with trawlers trying to land fish and liners coming in.”
“One of the big issues in Dublin Port is that when a liner comes in a few days after a ship has been unloaded there are huge complaints about the quay side not cleaned up properly.”
In response Cllr O’Cadhla said the Great Island is a big spot and a fishing industry would not jar with tourism.
He said “We should be a vibrant industry and it shouldn’t contradict with tourism or any other great pluses in the area. The fishing industry could spawn industry right across the area like Little island for warehousing, processing and investigation.”
A senior council official said “Cork County Council has no involvement in the marine. That’s not to say we don’t support fishing activity. The operation of fishing out in the sea is not an activity council is involved in.”
They said however if there is an interest on the ground to actively reengage with the fishing industry, interested parties could approach the Local enterprise office who could assist in identifying available grants.

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