The residents of Inis Meain feel forgotten by a lack of progress and communication on the Caladh Mór pier harbour development, which has been ongoing for more than a decade, and is likely to take years more to complete.
Speaking in the Dáil, Galway West TD Mairead Farrell asked what the plan is to progress the next phase of the pier development to improve access and capacity.
Minister for Community and Rural Development Heather Humphreys said that in June of this year, funding was provided to Galway County Council to commission the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) to model a range of designs to improve harbour acess.
However, due to COVID-19 this has stalled, as it is not currently possible to access the NMCI building, but the council are working with them to find other ways to progress the project.
The county council also has to review the draft business case for the project Minister Humphreys said.
Minister Humphreys said that this is likely to be a 5 year project, and that there’s “no point building something that will not work”.
Deputy Farrell said that there needs to be improved communication on the status of the project with the people of Inis Meain, as they feel the “pier has been forgotten”, and that people are procrastinating on the project.
“A pier is key infrastructure for an island community. We need to prioritise communication and set out a timeline so that the community knows when the project will be finished.”
Phases 1 and 2 of this development were took place more than a decade ago, and allowed the ferry boat to access the island directly with the creation of a harbour.
However, Deputy Eamon Ó Cuív says that there remain access issues for cargo boats which are essential to businesses on the island.
“I have raised with the Minister previously the critical importance of the cargo boat not only for bringing goods into the island but because of the significant manufacturing facility, Cniotáil Inis Meáin, based on the island.”
“The company needs constant supplies in and out. It is doing well business-wise but it is totally dependent on getting the raw material in and the finished material out.”
“This project has been progressing, or so we are told, for a long time but it seems at times to be going nowhere.”
He also said that there needs to be some “estimated timeline” for the delivery of the pier, along with a solid way to measure progress.