Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fight Valentia coastguard station closure

The proposal being considered by the Deparment of Transport to decommission Valentia Coastguard Station must be opposed by all who have an interest in Irish maritime affairs. Transport Minister Noel Dempsey (from practically landlocked Meath) is pushing the proposal to recentralise all coastguard co-ordination to two new centres at Galway and Drogheda. If this proceeds 17 people will lose their jobs at Valentia Island in Co. Kerry or be re-located to one of the other centres.

Valentia has co-ordinate marine rescue efforts off Ireland's south and west coast for decades and has done it very well. In 2007 to date more than 600 people can thank Valentia Coastguard for the fact that they are alive and in 2004 it was involved in some 3,000 rescue call-outs.

It is indeed a measure of the present government that it lumps Marine and Transport under one government deparment with Marine being very much the poor relation. As an island nation the marine is vital to our economic wellbeing and our future. We have just had our territorial area extended to give us a 200 mile limit with regard to ownership of underwater resources around off our coast. Minister Dempsey of course does not have a good record in relation to protecting these resourcesa as the people of North West Mayo could tell you. Let us hope that the government will not give away our oil and gas resources for practically nothing as in the recent past.

Getting back to Valentia it is essential that a campaign be mounted in the South West to fight for its retention. We can ill afford its loss.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Choir recital for cancer research at St. Colman's

St Colmans Cathedral

There will be a public concert at St. Colman's Cathedral, Cobh on Saturday, 3rd November 2007 in aid of the Cork Cancer Research Centre at the Mercy University Hospital. The recital will include music and song from St. Colman's Cathedral Choir with conductor Dominic Finn and the Cantilena String Quartet.

Admission to the concert is free but a collection will be taken up during the interval on behalf of the Cork Cancer Research Centre.

For more details on the centre's work visit their website at

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why not a Municipal Marina for Cobh?

The Cobh Marina story rumbles on and is likely to rumble on for at least another 18 months to 2 years as another attempt is made by the developers of the proposed marina to get planning approval. The mood of the meeting at the Commodore Hotel last Friday night was fairly definite - "get the objectors to change their minds". Any renewed planning application will require changes in the plan - that's how the planning laws work.

So where to from now. It seems to me that the main point of objection was the 200 apartments and the hotel/bar complex on site. There were also questions about the foreshore but the real crux was the accommodation and ancilliary buildings. It also seemed to me that while the objectors are standing firm, the pro-marina lobby were also fairly stuck fast on the single proposal of a residential style marina to be built by the present developer and nobody else.

When the possibility of building a marina without the apartments and hotel was raised it was dismissed out of hand - it would cost at least €5 million said the Mayor. Sounds like peanuts to me in today's Ireland. Surely it would be worth considering at least?

Now to the idea of a Municipal Marina - that is one built by the town itself without a developer. Impossible? It would be a loss-making disaster? Well Cork City has a very successful and popular Municipal Golf Course at Mahon, that's not a disaster and municipal marinas are quite common around the world, most of all in that bastion of big business and private enterprise the United States of America. Indeed the US state with the biggest number of publicly owned marinas is Florida - one of the wealthiest places in the world per capita.

Take for example Titusville, Florida - population 42,0
00. It has a municipal marina (see photo) built and run by the city - and did not require the building of hundreds of apartments. It has full facilities for boat repair, chandlery, fuel, etc.
Clearwater, Florida and Leamington, Ontaria (Canada) and Las Dunas (Spain) are other examples of successful city or town run marinas. There are also municipal marinas around various parts of the United Kingdom.

Wouldn't work here you say? Well Kilrush County Clare has a municipal marina, so has Mountshannon on Lough Derg, both much smaller communities than Cobh.

Cobh needs a Marina, but why not be a bit more open minded on the options available?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Public Meeting on Marina

A Public Meeting will be held in Cobh this Friday night (12th October 2007) to discuss the situation following the rejection by An Bord Pleanala of the proposed Marina project for Cobh.

The meeting will be held at the Commodore Hotel at 8.00pm and all are welcome.