107 years on, politicians are still promising village a fishing pier


It is the longest election promise in history. For 107 years public representatives of all hues have promised the little fishing village of Cromane, nestling in Castlemaine Harbour, a pier to develop its mussel and salmon fishing industry.

In May 1895 a huge public meeting with members of the Congested Districts Board sought a pier to develop the deep-sea fishing trade in Cromane. The meeting was cautioned "not to hope for too much all at once," the Kerry Sentinel report of the time recounts.

The latest batch of promises was made in 1997, with TDs including Mr Jackie Healy-Rae and the Minister for Justice, Mr O'Donoghue, foremost in the election pledges for a pier.

Since the last election almost €660,000 has been spent on studies and site investigations by the Department of the Marine. A sum of €115,000 was announced last week "to finalise a preliminary report" into the development of Cromane harbour.

Dr Peter McCabe, an oceanographer commissioned by the Old Pier Development Association to determine a suitable site, says the most suitable place is at the site of the old pier.

Dr McCabe has worked on a number of international and national projects and is currently involved in the Loop Head project to convert salt water to fresh water. "Public money is being wasted. If the harbour is put anywhere except here it is a waste of public money," he says.

Mr Pat Casey of the local development association supports the Marine Department's plans for the site at Crow's Point, but he is critical of the spending of €660,000 "with nothing to show for it for Cromane". Both Mr O'Donoghue and Mr Healy-Rae are being criticised locally.

There is now tendering for a cost benefit analysis, a spokesman for Marine said. including hydro-dynamic, geo-technical, EIS, archaeological studies.