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  Seals hold up works on our dangerous Island Pier

Press Release issued by Cailín Óir Ferry Service to Cape Clear Island

Planning Permission applications for dangerous Pier held up by seals

Residents of Cape Clear Island are outraged that a planning permission application for remedial works to a dangerous pier is being held up by because of idiotic claims of a potential risk by the pile driving to seal colonies located on the Carthys and Calf Island, both of which are over 2 miles from North Harbour. Even more ridiculous is the fact the pile driving was recently completed at the other end of the same pier.

Last February the dangerous condition of the pier was noted together with photo graphs on the ferry blog at with hopes the planning permission would be expedited quickly. Unfortunately, it now seems that this will not happen and that locals plus 10,000 visitors to the Island will be unnecessarily put at risk this coming summer.

Islanders are outraged at the fact that something which poses a real risk to human beings will be allowed to exist for longer than necessary because of a miniscule risk to seals over 2 miles away.  On behalf of our crew and the community we serve we find this to be a pure outrage and hold whoever caused this personally responsible for anything that happens in the meantime. Its almost beyond belief that something so farfetched was actually issued by a Planning Authority”.

The problem with these esoteric concerns is that they are very difficult to resolve, as many people know,  its often much harder to resolve a silly question than a legitimate one

The Ferry Company acknowledges the ongoing efforts of the Dept. Marine to reconstruct the harbour and the Management and Crew of L & M Keatings who are the main contractors on site.


Issued by Séamus Ó Drisceoil

Monday 9 March 2105



Copy of relevant document attached.


Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

c/o Malone O'Regan Consulting Engineers

St. Catherine's House

Catherine Street




Re: 15/00015

Remedial works to the south western end of Duffy's Pier. The works will comprise

of pier widening and strengthening works and will include filling, sheet piling,

masonry, reinforced concrete and associated works. A Natura Impact Statement has

been prepared and will be submitted with this application

At: North Harbour, Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork

Dear Sir/Madam,

I refer to your planning application which was lodged with the Planning Authority on the


It is considered that the information submitted with the application is not yet sufficient to

enable the Planning Authority to make a decision in this case. Therefore, to enable the

Planning Authority give further consideration to your application, you are requested to

submit six copies of the following further information:-

1. Please confirm whether part of the existing pier wall is to be removed, and if so,

clarify the extent of the wall which is to be removed on the site, the methods to be

employed to remove the wall and the environmental precautions to be implemented

during this phase of the works. Clarify how any material generated from this element

of the works, as well as material which is to be used for the construction of the

temporary access road, will be disposed of. This information is required as there

appears to be a discrepancy between the proposed works as described in the Planning

Submission document and in the Natura Impact Statement. It is stated in the Natura

Impact Statement that a section of the existing pier wall is to be removed as part of

the proposed works. This element of the work has not been included in the Planning

Submission document. Clarification is, thus, required in relation to the description of

the proposed works.

2. The proposed works would require pile driving which would cause subtidal noise, and

which is known to have the potential to cause significant behavioural disturbance to

marine mammals at distances of several kilometres. It is noted that the works are

proposed to take place from April to July which is stated to be the time when

sightings of marine mammals are lower. However, the works are located within 3km

of a known Grey Seal breeding and moulting site at Calf Island and within 5km of a

known Grey Seal breeding and moulting site at Carthys Island, and the works could

have the potential to affect seals at these locations as well as cetaceans. It is

considered that the risk of impact of the works on marine mammals has not been

assessed adequately in the submitted documentation. No information has been

provided in relation to the extent or duration of time over which it is proposed to carry

out pile driving and no information has been provided as to the noise levels which are

likely to be generated. Also there is no assessment of potential for in combination

impacts to arise, having regard to other works which may generate subtidal noise and

which are ongoing in the harbour area. You are, therefore, requested to provide

further information in order to determine the level of risk to cetaceans and marine

mammals which could arise from the proposed works, and to ensure that appropriate

mitigation measures are incorporated to ensure that any such risks are appropriately

mitigated. You are advised to have regard to NPWS’ Guidance To Manage The Risk

to Marine Mammals from Man-made Sound Sources in Irish Waters’ in the

completion of the risk assessment and in the development of appropriate mitigation

measures to minimise potential for impacts on marine mammal species.

This information is required as the Heritage Officer has raised concerns regarding the

potential of the proposed works to have negative implications for Roaringwater Bay

and Islands Special Area of Conservation or to give rise to negative impacts on

cetaceans and seals, having regard in particular to the requirement for pile driving and

the potential for this activity to give rise to noise related injury or mortality.

3. Submit a Waste Management Plan for the proposed works. The plan should provide

details of all wastes types at the site including EWC (European Waste Catalogue)

codes and details of the quantity of all waste types. Provide details of proposals for

recycling of waste and any details of any proposed licensed waste disposal sites.

Before making any submission to Cork County Council or preparing a Waste

Management Plan for the site, you should contact Mr. John Earley, Cork County

Council Environment Section, telephone: 028-22760.

This request for further information is without prejudice to any decision the Council may

take, either to refuse permission or to grant permission, with or without conditions. Please

note that your application shall be declared to be withdrawn if all of the further information

as required above is not submitted within 6 months of the date of this letter.

Please further note that where the Planning Authority considers that the further information

request has not been fully complied with and requires clarification, the 4 weeks for making a

decision (or 8 weeks in the case of an application accompanied by an EIS), does not begin

until this clarification has been provided and the request for further information has been

fully complied with.

Further consideration of your application is deferred pending receipt of the information


Any response to this letter should clearly state that it is a response to a request for further

information in connection with 15/00015 and be addressed to: - Planning Department West,

Norton House, Skibbereen, Co. Cork.

Yours faithfully,

Margaret Corcoran

Senior Staff Officer

email:   telephone: 028 41923