Council to Review Access to Gated Cobh Strand

By Seamus Whelehan

Brian O'Grady with Jim Shealy and Cllr Diarmaid O'Cadhla.

Cobh Municipality Councillors are to review a decision by the Local Authority to close off a popular stretch of coastline which has been a public right of way for generations.

The Battery Strand, close to the Titanic Garden near the Holy Ground, Cobh, was permanently closed in recent weeks.

The Local Authority say they took the move to permanently weld the access gate shut, following fears for public safety after numerous attempts to restrict access over the past 4 years have failed.

Municipality Executive Officer Paraig Lynch told the July Sitting of the Authority €12million had been invested by the Department of the Environment, Cork County Council and Cobh Town Council to secure areas that are at risk.

The Executive Clerk said the cliff adjacent to the Battery Strand walkway was one of a number of locations that failed to attract sufficient funding.

“Originally the gate was locked. The lock was cut off- we restored the lock.  A stronger one was cut off. The gate was taken a number of times, and dumped.”

A report by Malachy Walsh and Partners in 2014 on walls and slopes across the Island found that the Battery Strand cliff was among a number of locations in the town that were in immediate danger of collapse, and strongly urged that access be restricted.

Cllr Diarmaid O’Cadhla raised the issue under Any Other Business at the July Sitting of the Borough and asked that a decision be made that the area should be reopened.

The Independent Cllr said a report should be commissioned detailing what is required to re-establish the public access.

Cllr Cathal Rasmussen said he could see both sides of the argument.

The Labour Cllr said the steps are damaged, the platform onto the beach is gone, so from a Health and Safety point it was right to close the access.

He said “it’s a crying shame to see it locked up. “

Executive Clerk Paraig Lynch said he would urge Cllrs to defer a decision on restoring access until September, when he would have an opportunity to furnish them with the Malachy Walsh report.