Jims roofing 2008

*The matter was debated at a recent sitting of the West Clare MD. 

PIERS OF COUNTY CLARE cannot be “risk-proofed”, a former fisherman has warned.

An audit of potential hazards at Monks Pier, Ballyvaughan Pier and other open piers across the West Clare Municipal District was sought by Cllr Joe Killeen (FF) who wanted Clare County Council to “undertake identified alterations in the interest of health and safety”.

Clare County Council’s lighting section has been requested by the West Clare MD to upgrade the standard of lighting on the public footpaths adjacent to Ballyvaughan Pier, senior executive engineer Enda MacNamara outlined. “The area office will review any other potential hazards at this pier. Piers are open spaces to permit sufficient access to vehicles/boats and pedestrian movement. The public are advised to be aware of their surroundings when entering a pier area,” he said.

A near-miss occurred in Ballyvaughan recently, Cllr Killeen flagged. “A child’s parents left the child and went into the restaurant, the child got confused and fell into the pier, the child was able to climb up to the side of the pier and get back onto terra firma. Luckily the child was well and cared for by his parents, it was a huge shock for the parents and the child involved”.

Seconding the proposal, Cllr Shane Talty (FF) observed, “a serious tragedy was diverted there”. He said the upgrading of lighting in the area was the chief concern of the parents involved.

“There are somethings you can’t risk proof and piers are one of them, they are inherently dangerous. My gut feeling is if a child is running loose on a pier then that is not the fault of the child or the Council, it’s the parents that should be caring for them,” Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) commented.

He recalled his many years as a fisherman, “I lost enough friends falling off pierS between the boat after a few drinks, it is probably the most common cause of fisherman’s deaths. it doesn’t matter how much lighting is there somethings you just can’t risk proof, there is a pier and water, the tide comes in and out, if you wait long enough it will come back up”.

Murphy said he supported the motion in theory but was conscious of sending out a message that the local authority would provide a safe environment for everyone and anybody without them taking personal responsibility. “I was a fisherman for long enough, I saw stupid people and smart people do stupid things on piers,” the Kilkee man added.

Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) was of the view that assessments of piers “seemed to have stopped”. He suggested referring to previous audits to assist in providing further information.

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