A LEGAL REVIEW of planning permission granted for a visitor center and cable car on Dursey Island in County Cork has been announced, following concerns from Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE).
The planning permission, which would have seen the creation of a new visitor center as well as a new cable car operation to replace the existing system, was initially granted to Cork County Council and Fáilte Ireland in November 2021.
The project was to cost 10 million euros.
The old cable car system – built in 1969 and upgraded twice – was to be replaced with a two-carriage desynchronized reversible cable car capable of carrying 650 people per hour, while the new visitor center would have a gift shop and cafe of 84 people. and parking for 80 cars and buses.
Due to the damage it suffered during Storm Barra, the cable car is expected to close for maintenance and will not reopen until November 2022.
Judicial review was granted by High Court Judge Humphries following concerns raised by several organisations.
The FIE, alongside An Taisce and Birdwatch Ireland, previously raised concerns about the project in 2019, calling it “undesirable for several reasons”, saying the island was environmentally sensitive.
The concerns centered on the protection of the “Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection for Birds”, especially for crabs.
The reports were based on an island off the coast of Brittany in France where crabs live.
A red-billed crab.
Source: Alamy Image Bank
The An Bord Pleanala inspector, who visited the site twice, found that the plans drawn up by the developer “could not be relied on for a number of reasons”, including concerns about the ability to visit on the island.
The inspector recommended turning down the development, but An Bord Pleanala accepted the proposal, saying capping the number of visitors to the island and other mitigation measures would solve the problems.
The newspaper contacted Cork County Council for comments on the judicial review, but none had been received at the time of publication.
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Closed for maintenance
It comes as Cork County Council today announced the cable car would be closed until April 1 for essential maintenance,
The council said a structural review of the cable car had been carried out and essential works had been identified to allow the cable car to remain in service.
In a statement, the council said the work was on the cable car pylons and that due to their age, condition and likely future exposure to high winds, they needed to either be reinforced or replaced.
“Unfortunately, the cable car will not be able to continue to operate while this structural work is being carried out. As a result, it will be necessary to suspend the cable car service from 1 April 2022 to facilitate essential works,” said Cork County Council.
“The cable car service is expected to resume in November 2022 after completion of the work and renewal of the Railways Regulatory Commission authorizations to operate the cable car.”