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The Dursey Island cable car. Alamy Stock Photo
dursey island

Dursey Island cable car upgrade subject to judicial review following objections

The cable car is also set to close until November for essential maintenance following Storm Barra.

A JUDICIAL REVIEW of planning permission granted for a visitors’ centre and cable car at Dursey Island in Co Cork has been announced, following concerns from Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE).

The planning permission, which would have seen a new visitor centre established as well as a new cable car operation to replace the existing system, was originally granted to Cork County Council and Fáilte Ireland in November 2021.

The project was set to cost €10 million.

The old cable car system – built in 1969 and upgraded twice – was to be replaced with a two-cars desynchronised reversible cable car capable of carrying 650 people an hour, while the new visitor centre would have a gift shop and an 84-person cafe and parking for 80 cars and buses.

Due to damage it sustained during Storm Barra, the cable car is set to close to undergo maintenance and will not reopen until November 2022.

The judicial review was granted by High Court Justice Humphries following concerns raised by multiple organisations.

FIE, alongside An Taisce and Birdwatch Ireland, had previously raised concerns about the project in 2019, calling it “undesirable on multiple grounds”, saying the island was ecologically sensitive.

The concerns were over the protection of the “Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area for birds”, particularly for choughs.

The reports were based on an island on the coast of Brittany in France where choughs live.

red-billed-chough-in-cornwall A red-billed chough. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The An Bord Pleanala Inspector, who visited the site twice, found that the plans set out by the developer “could not be relied on for a number of reasons”, including concerns around visiting capacity on the island.

The inspector recommended refusing the development, but An Bord Pleanala accepted the proposal, saying that capping the number of visitors on the island and other mitigation measures would solve the concerns.

The Journal has contacted Cork County Council for comment on the judicial review, but none has been received at the time of publication.

Closed for maintenance

It comes as Cork County Council announced today that the cable car would be closed until 1 April for essential maintenance,

The council said that a structural review of the cable car was carried out, and that essential works were highlighted to allow for the cable car to remain in service.

In a statement, the council said that the works relate to the cable car towers, and that due to their age, condition and likely future exposure to high winds, they must be either reinforced or replaced.

“Regrettably, it will not be possible for the cable car to continue in service while these structural works are carried out. As a result, it will be necessary to pause the cable car service from 1 April 2022 in order to facilitate the essential works,” said Cork County Council.

“The cable car service is expected to resume in November 2022 following completion of the works and the renewal of consents from the Commission for Railways Regulation to operate the cable car.”

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