Monday 16 September 2019

Swimming ban at harbours and piers angers councillors

The sign at Fethard Dock Pier
The sign at Fethard Dock Pier
One of the No Swimming signs.

A ban on swimming at harbours and piers has outraged members of Wexford County Council.

Cllr Martin Murphy said people from around the district travelled to Fethard every summer to learn how to swim. He said this practise had to continue. 'We have to find a way to work around this'.

Cllr Frank Staples pointed out that there was ever 'only one or two boats at Cahore Pier. It's totally ridiculous to have the same rules there as Kilmore'.

Cllr Malcolm Byrne suggested that the matter be dealt with at Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) meetings adding he didn't think the council would be able to resolve the matter. 'I don't think we can develop policy that these meetings', he said.

'There's different problems in different areas', said Cllr Robbie Ireton.

Cllr Murphy wondered if it were acceptable to bring a deputation of local people to the Environmental SPC 'so that their true feelings can be seen'.

Local clubs would suffer too as a result of the ban according to Cllr Willie Fitzharris who said he had been involved with Hook Sub Aqua Club for a long number of years.

'One of the major fundraisers is the Christmas Swim in the harbour and also the dive day in the summer. It's a huge tourist attraction. It would simply crucify the club (if this stays in place).

'Some of our members are the most highly trained in the country and are involved in various search and rescue operations. To stop people like this swimming in the harbour is not right.

'I would be very concerned. I agree with no casual swimming in the harbour but I think we are going in the wrong direction to stop training people how to swim. If we don't train them they will drown.'

Engineer Gerry Forde said the safety aspects didn't just relate to boats but also to water quality and fluctuations of water levels.

The members agreed to discuss the matter at the SPC.

Wexford People

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