Saturday 29 July 2017

Lack of dredging harming port

THE VIABILITY of Sligo port was being threatened by its lack of dredging.

Councillor Sean MacManus said he would like to see it maintained as a working port.

However, he was disheartened to see that the chances of getting the €5.2 million needed to do the work was remote. "It needs to be dredged. The silt is piling up," said Clr. MacManus.

Twenty commercial vessels used the port since the start of 2011, shifting 45,000 tonnes of cargo.

An Environmental report had been done regarding a major dredging programme.

The report forms the basis for a Foreshore Licence Dredging Application to the Department.

An offshore dump site has been identified and an application regarding this is to be lodged with the EPA soon. It was intended to carry out maintenance dredging on two jetties in 2013, one of which is 70m long and the other, 55m.

A turning circle is also to be dredged and the total cost of this work was €100,000.

Clr. MacManus was told there was a "poor window of opportunity" for boats spending time in Sligo and getting away on a high tide.

Problems at Mullaghmore harbour were raised by Clr. Declan Bree. He said the Council agreed to draft a plan to permanently remove the sand bank at the entrance to the harbour.

A couple of years ago financial assistance was given to have the sand bank removed but it has reappeared.

Earlier this year a chartered boat got stuck on the sand bank.

"Boat users have become quite concerned about the issue The harbour continues to be an important facility for North Sligo, for commercial fishing, sailing, sport angling, subaqua diving, water safety courses, power boating and boat charter," he said.

The floating pontoon near Hughes Bridge has proven to be a major success and operated at full capacity during 2012.

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