Collins Seeks Dredging of Midleton Rivers and Ballinacurra Harbour

By Seamus Whelehan

Skelmersdale trolley

The Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Michael Creed, has been asked to fund the dredging of Ballinacurra Harbour and the Owenacurra and Roxborough Rivers near Midleton.

The move comes after Cork County Council this week told Cllr Noel Collins they had no plan to dredge below the high water mark in Cork Harbour.

The Local Authority said that, regarding the Midleton Rivers, they will be addressed by the OPW during the Town Flood Relief Programme.

Cllr Collins claimed that silt levels are at a record high, increasing the risk of flooding in the area, while in summer months, warm weather conditions result in unpleasant odours.

He told this week’s Southern Committee that both the Owenacurra and Roxborough Rivers “are in an unhealthy condition with debris of all kinds, including empty bottles and rats, now that recycling bins have been removed.”

Cork Harbour Commissioners ceased operations at Ballinacurra Harbour in 1962 as it was deemed too expensive to dredge the approach to the small Harbour and keep it clear of silting mud.

Cllr Collins said the public can see for themselves the amount of dumping which takes place in Ballinacurra Harbour.

Last summer the area was labelled as one of the worst litter black spots in the country by An Taisce, who carried out the survey on behalf of Irish Business against Litter (IBAL).

The review, which was the first of its kind, found that two locations in Cork Harbour and Doolin Pier Co Clare were the worst areas for litter.

They said Ballinacurra, Midleton was “persistently” heavily littered and, at the second Cork Harbour location, Blackrock Castle, they said, the litter appeared to have been washed up rather than dumped.
In a report to Council, the County Senior Engineer, with responsibility for Coastal Management and flood projects, Kevin Costelloe, said “dredging will be considered as an option on the Owenacurra and Dungourney Rivers, and their tributaries, as part of the Midleton Flood Relief scheme.

Mr Costelloe, however, said “any proposed dredging option must be assessed as technically, environmentally and economically viable, before it can be adopted.”