No Innishmurray solution until 2020
Municipal District of Sligo-Drumcliffe meeting
Two north Sligo councillors have clashed over the ongoing issue of safe landing facilities for boats at Inishmurray.
Councillor Donal Gilroy sought a progress report on the issue and was told by Director of Services Tom Kilfeather that the Marine Survey Office - who halted commercial boat trips to Inishmurray in 2018 - approved of steps being cut into the sandstone rock face to provide safer landing facilities at the island.
The MSO also suggested the names of two contractors they felt were competent in that type of work, one of whom will make a preliminary inspection of Inishmurray in early autumn. The Council has also found out that similar work will be carried out at Ireland's Eye in Howth, which will inform their own plans. Mr Kilfeather said that while no work would be done this summer, the Council was in a 'much better" position to solve the impasse in 2020.
Cllr Gilroy said he had a call from an elderly woman who had maintained her family's graves on Inishmurray for the last forty years. "She can't get out anymore," he told officials, adding that he would "love to see the accident history" for the island.
Cllr Marie Casserly said she knew the issue "intimately since it came up".
"Myself and Keith Clarke (boat operator) met with the Marine Survey Office and we were able to discuss issues. The MSO have no problem with the OPW going out, even if they have to pay. All they have to do is let them know. The OPW can go out and maintain graves," she said.
"I could go out to Inishmurray in the morning. It's just commercial vehicles who cannot charge for it because they have no insurance. Just because there never has been an accident doesn't mean there's never going to be an accident," she said. "Anyone can grandstand and say this should be done but people need to get off their back sides - it takes work and time," she told the meeting. People who were born there don't want people trampling all over their island. I'm happy that you don't have cruise ships coming here. It should be a UNESCO site. We're getting there. We hope that by 2020 it will be solved," she added.
Cllr Gilroy replied that he didn't know "who was grandstanding." "People asking questions is not grandstanding, that's crazy," he said.
"We've heard a lot about 'I'. There's no 'I' in team. Keith Clarke's description of that meeting was very different to that. He didn't see them (MSO) as open and welcoming. His version of it was different," he added.