Donegal council to review 150 piers following drownings

Full investigation under way into incident on Buncrana pier in which five people died

Donegal County Council said it plans to review the status of the gate leading to the Buncrana slipway, which has been closed since five people drowned there in March. Photograph: Justin Kernoghan.

Donegal County Council said it plans to review the status of the gate leading to the Buncrana slipway, which has been closed since five people drowned there in March. Photograph: Justin Kernoghan.

 

Donegal County Council has said it is carrying out a review of its 150 piers following the incident in which five members of one family died after their car skidded into Lough Swilly. It also said a full investigation into events surrounding the incident is under way.

“Piers and slipways are generally public places and open to the public,” a spokesman said.

“The interface between the dry land and the sea with all the variations that nature brings including water depths, tides, swells and currents, wave forces, seaweed and debris can make them a high risk location.

“The council would wish that such a tragedy would not happen again. The council have gathered some of the facts surrounding this unfortunate tragedy in Buncrana and that process is continuing.

Specific measures

The review will be carried out on all piers and slipways across Donegal, according to a statement.

The council also plans to review the status of the gate leading to the Buncrana slipway, which has been closed since the incident last month.

“The council will also have regard to the findings from the Buncrana incident as they might relate to other piers and harbours and an initial process to do that is underway. The council have roughly 150 piers of varying sizes and uses around its coastline.”

Meanwhile the council is still examining plans to reopen a gateway to the slipway at Buncrana pier when the Rathmullan to Buncrana ferry recommences its service in June. “The council are in negotiations for the resumption of the Buncrana to Rathmullan ferry in early June and it is expected that a decision will be taken around the reopening of the locked gate at the top of the slipway before the ferry comes into operation.

“The gate had been installed originally to regulate traffic queueing for the ferry.”