Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Committee on Public Petitions

Save Fermoy Weir: Discussion.

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour) | Oireachtas source

Ms O'Brien has just opened another silo but we will engage with the Department. The witnesses will all be back in three weeks and officials of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport will be here. I appreciate Ms O'Brien's intervention.

We are trying to distil this and reach a fair assessment of what the positions are. Some of us have been living and breathing this issue and the people of Fermoy know the issue inside out at this stage. It should be accepted that there is one stakeholder group that involves local angling and rowing interests and has an interest in local amenities, including providing for people with disabilities. Rowing has become a key sport in the country and we have to recognise Fermoy's status in that regard. The Munster Blackwater is a key reference river for salmon, although there are questions about that status. We all want to find a solution and we will all work with Government to that end.

I propose that we leave the petition open. I thank the witnesses for attending. I believe all documents, no matter how indicative they are, even drawings or schematics that have been laid before us, should be placed in the public domain. That includes the local authority document but the witnesses can discuss that with their colleagues. It does not necessarily mean that they will be interpreted by people accessing them in the public domain in a literal fashion if it is clearly communicated that the documents from the consulting engineers, TJ O'Connor & Associates, are merely indicative high level documents and are not to be interpreted any other way. I note the request that the witnesses have made about not having these be published on the website. I ask that they reconsider that. The committee tries to publish all materials and keep everything online so that everybody has access. The witnesses' public statement has been to the effect that it is a high level document and not a finished document. The witnesses might consider that, if Mr. Morey and Mr. Healy want to come back to us.

We will send the opening statements to the petitioner. We intend to keep the petition open because there is more work to be done on this. We are genuinely grateful to the witnesses for attending and giving their time. This is our final meeting before the recess. I thank everybody who has submitted a petition and those who have attended. I thank the staff in the secretariat who do an excellent job in preparing documents and interfacing with the public. They are the A team in that regard. I thank all of the staff who record these proceedings and our press people. Much work goes into preparing a committee meeting and I acknowledge those who work on our behalf.


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