Greencastle Area Residents Group held on Open meeting on 22nd February 2013 in relation to the proposed Ferry development between Greencastle and Greenore, Co Louth. In total approximately 100 to 120 people attended the meeting to hear an update about the proposed development from the developers Carlingford Ferries.
The meeting took the format of a presentation from Paul O’Sullivan (Carlingford Ferries) and an open-floor Q & A session. At the request of GARG Committee the event was chaired by Newry and Mourne District Councillor for Crotlieve, Councillor Connaire McGreevy.
During the presentation Paul introduced himself and provided an update on the ferry proposal. He outlined that the prospect of a ferry has been talked about for many years and that the reason of the delay was that the original landing site was in front of peoples’ houses in the hamlet, which was not suitable. Carlingford Ferries have taken a fresh look at landing sites and the proposed development over the last 4/5 years and seriously during the last 15/18 months.
He was of the option that a landing site, which was less contentious, had been found. He also outlined that a location in Greenore was also located and finalised in January 2011 (at the gate of greenore port).
Paul went on to outline that a survey had been carried out in various location to gain support for the ferry and that in September (2011) R.P.S. were engaged to undertake an environmental impact and roads assessment. At this stage this report has not been made public and has not been provided to any member of GARG.
Mr. Kevin Mc Shane from R.P.S outlined he was consulting with Road Service, as the roads would need to be improved. It was outlined that laybys along Greencastle Pier Road was being suggested as the possible upgrade.
The Question asked during the Open Question and Answer session were mainly in relation to road improvements and the actual structure of the proposed pier.
Some of the Questions included:
• What reassurance is there that commercial vehicles will not be on the ferry?
Willing to put a weight restriction.
Will be open to carry white vans and tour busses.
It is primarily directed at tourism
• What about the road improvement?
Road was very narrow in places. Road Service have no plans at present to do anything with Greencastle Pier Road. It was being put over to the operator to do something. Removal of grass verges and by talking to land owners would allow for passing bays.
• When the ferry was mentioned in 1995, it was considered necessary to demolish 5 houses on the road. Is this going to happen this time?
It is not proposed to knock down any houses this time. Application drawings are being prepared and the lay-bys will be shown on them.
• Certain houses on Greencastle Pier road are within a few meters from the road. At present the houses vibrates when a bus passes. What is going to happen with the increase in daily traffic?
7.5 ton weight restriction could be put in place – or a 10-20mph sign before and after the house.
• An impression of the new road would have been good to look at
The planning will show roads. People will be able to raise objections then. The design is not completed yet.
• Will there be a provision for footpaths for recreation pleasure?
No – We do not plan to provide footpaths – There are no footpaths now but there will be a bit of standing room due to the removal of the verges.
• Health and safety issues around the School?
Cars going to Newcastle will pass the school, this leads to the necessary widening of the original road.
• There is only one way in and out of Greencastle. There are 3 roads in Killimer. You have an option of roads to pick.
Paul disputed this fact but could not give a satisfactory answer. Might the ferry cause trouble with the existing moorings? Will be talking to the boat owners.
• Have you talked to the Mourne Shore trustees yet? Have you talked to the Crown Estate?
Yes and talks are ongoing with the Crown estate
Full minutes of the meeting can be got from GARG Committee members
In conclusion GARG Chairperson Diarmuid Cahill thanked all for attendance and highlighted that it was clear from the various questions asked that the roads are a very big issue for all concerned and asked Carlingford Ferries to hold another meeting and have a 3D model on display of the proposed development and include drawings of proposed road upgrades, and to provide full details of the proposed road upgarde on Greencastle Pier Road and the other roads in the area. Diarmuid pointed out that the same issues which were raised at the 1st meeting, held in 2011, surrounded roads and these issues still have not been addressed and he felt that they were still not address tonight.