Why are fishing boats now moored to the north breakwater?
The design of the harbour does not envisage what is happening with commercial fishing boats mooring up against the north breakwater, as these boats were not operating from Greystones before the construction of the new harbour and marina.
Prior to the Greystones Harbour PPP project, the original moorings for fishermen consisted of “swing moorings” within the old harbour area, which was in a state of disrepair and provided limited shelter. The current harbour and marina were designed in the mid-2000’s, in accordance with Wicklow County Council’s requirements which included the provision of appropriate moorings in the new harbour for the type of vessel operating out of the harbour prior to the redevelopment.
The moorings installed in the outer harbour were designed for the type of fishing vessels which would have featured in the harbour prior to the redevelopment and comprised of linear (fore and aft) moorings located within the outer harbour, away from fixed structures and the harbour beach. This development of the harbour progressed through the planning approval process, including a public oral hearing, local consultation led by Wicklow County Council as the promoter of the project, when all stakeholders had their opportunity to engage. Following planning approval, detailed design and construction took place.
The primary function of the north and south breakwaters is to protect the harbour and coastline from erosion by the sea, acting as a barrier to slow water speed. This is what the breakwaters were designed and built for, following the project brief from Wicklow County Council.
Why have the gates to the north breakwater been locked ?
The gates were installed to curtail access to the north breakwater on occasions where there is an increased risk to public safety.
Unauthorised moorings for a number of fishing boats have been illegally installed on the north breakwater and are being used by a number of fishing boats without any permission or agreement. It was never intended that large commercial fishing boats would moor to the north breakwater and damage has now been done to the structure, the extent of which is being assessed.
These boats have also been restricting access to the safety ladders such that they are inaccessible should a member of the public fall into the water.
Unauthorised access by vehicles to the north breakwater is not permitted for obvious safety reasons and SisPar is managing the risk to members of the public with the use of the gates. However, locks were repeatedly broken and access gained by vehicles parking illegally and unloading boats. These matters have been reported to the Gardai in Greystones.
Why can a deal not be reached to accommodate the fishermen who want to moor their boats in Greystones ?
Extensive discussions took place with those wanting to moor their commercial fishing boats in the new harbour.
The fishermen currently operating without authorization were offered the opportunity to unload their catch from the north breakwater on the basis they would then moor their boats in the marina.
The deal they were offered would also have seen them avail of the fishermen’s huts that were built in the harbour specifically to store fishing gear but they decided not to do this.
Have all options been explored to facilitate the fishermen in the harbour, for example the use of the area beside the public slipways?
Yes, all options have been examined and the engineers who originally designed and helped build the harbour have said there are no other options available to moor boats of this size as it was not designed for them.
These boats were not fishing out of Greystones when the harbour was being designed and therefore it was not designed to accommodate them. These larger vessels have only started to come in to Greystones since the new harbour was built.