Councillors Hit Out at Negative Ironman Comments

By Seamus Whelehan

Yellow road marking on road surface, full frame

Council Executive in Cork County have called the comments on the upcoming Ironman event in Youghal by one East Cork Councillor as “negative” and “a non-story.”  Cllr Danielle Twomey had attempted to have a separate roads budget created to cover the cost of the repair to roads along the Iron Man Triathlon route but her Agenda item hit a road block when she failed to get support from her fellow Cllrs at Monday’s Southern Committee in County Hall.

The Sinn Féin Cllr said that, while the one day extreme sports event was welcome, she would not like to see other Municipal roads ignored because of it.  “Some of the roads along the route would not have been priority and, in the meantime there are people waiting years for their roads that are pushed down the list.” “In East Cork people are struggling to leave their houses, the rural ones especially” Cllr Twomey said.

Cork County Council have already set aside almost €600,000 to deal with any road repairs ahead of the 23 June event, with additional costs to come for the Authority Annual Roads Budget.  Sean O’Callaghan, a County Senior Executive officer, said Ironman officials had identified just one section of route that needed attention, a section of the L3802 Murley’s Cross.   Mr O’Callaghan said the Local Authority provided €575,000 additional roads funding.  He said “works commenced on this section in late 2018, and the aim is to recommence these works in March subject to weather conditions.”   Deputy Mayor of Cork County, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley said she was “flabbergasted” over the negative comments regarding road repairs ahead of the Ironman Triathlon series.

She said Youghal was up against Westport, County Mayo to host the International Ironman event “so there can’t be anything majorly wrong with our roads if the Ironman team picked Youghal and East Cork.   Agreeing with the Deputy Mayor, Fine Gael Cllr Michael Hegarty said “It’s an Ironman, not a Cottonman event” .  “The exposure for the entire area and the air time is just phenomenal and the benefits from Ironman will spread throughout the area” he said.

Declan Daly, Deputy Chief of Cork County Council, said “what is at stake is a 3 year boost to the East Cork economy, generating €8million per year, and showcasing to the World what the region has to offer.”   He said while Cork County Council is at the forefront of the Youghal Ironman, the Authority were not seeking to be the face of the brand.  “What we are doing is adding significant value to the economy of East Cork including not only Youghal but Midleton, Dungourney, Ballymacoda and Cloyne along the route.”

Events of this nature attract up to 2,500 elite athletes from across the globe, with an even bigger number of supporters and onlookers.  Ironman Triathlons, held annually, comprises a 3.8km swim, 180.25km cycle and 42.2km and attracts over 200,000 athletes worldwide.  Triathlons are one of the fastest growing sports in Ireland, and the Ironman brand is known globally.