Scaled-back plan for Cork Harbour unveiled
Project costing €60m would develop two sites at east and west ends of Ringaskiddy
A drawing showing the proposed scaled-back development of Cork Harbour
The Port of Cork yesterday unveiled a revised plan for the development of its facilities at Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour which it hopes will enable the port to develop in its role as first category – Tier 1 – main- harbour facility under the Government’s national ports policy.
The redrawn plan, which is being put out for public consultation, involves the initial development of two sites at the eastern and western ends of Ringaskiddy over a 10-year period at an estimated cost of about €60 million.
The move follows the rejection by An Bord Pleanála in 2008 of a much larger-scale project costing €160 million which would have involved the reclamation of the Oysterbank off Ringaskiddy. This was strongly opposed by local groups.
According to Port of Cork engineering services manager Denis Healy, the scaled-down plan will involve reclaiming about 5 per cent of the area earmarked for reclamation under the previous plan.
He expressed confidence it would meet with local approval.
Mr Healy acknowledged that one of the grounds for An Bord Pleanála’s refusal for the 2008 plan was the lack of a rail link but the Port of Cork had since commissioned a study that showed a rail link was not a major weighting factor in selecting a site.
He said port officials had already had a number of consultation meetings with An Bord Pleanála about the revised plan, which involves an initial phase at the eastern end of Ringaskiddy which, they hope with planning approval, will be completed by 2018.
Mr Healy explained that the eastern phase covering some 16 hectares would facilitate the transfer of the port’s container business from Tivoli where, due to the narrowness of the channel of the Lee, the port is limited in the size of container ship it can accommodate.
Mr Healy said the development of Ringaskiddy East was likely to cost about €40-45 million, while a second phase of development at Ringaskiddy West would cost in the region of €14 million and could take a further five years to complete.
Some container traffic would also be transferred to Ringaskiddy East from the west area, which would then be freed up and developed to accommodate bulk cargo when it transfers from the city quays as demand rises.