Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore and Sinn Féin TD John Bray have expressed concerns at the erection of fences at the North Pier harbour in Greystones, which limits public access to a community amenity.
The fences were erected during the summer months by the Council due to health and safety concerns caused by antisocial behaviour, however Deputy Whitmore has suggested it is a “further continuation fo the privatisation of the pier” while Deputy Brady said it “sets a dangerous precedent for access to public amenities.”
Deputy Whitmore said: “I understand there are safety concerns, however the reality is that the Council took a publicly open facility, developed it and have not put in any provisions for teenagers in the site or provided any free alternatives for them elsewhere.
“The community has been calling for years for a swimming platform for people to jump off in the harbour. A lot of the activities in the area are already cost prohibitive so there really needs to be an alternative that is free for teenagers to used.”
Deputy Brady said: “The council have cited the issue of overtopping at Greystones Harbour during weather events as being one of the reasons for their installation. Does this mean that similar gates are to be installed in the Harbours Arklow, Wicklow Town and Bray?”
“Since the construction of the new Greystones Harbour, Sispar, are responsible for the delivery, management and operation of it. This has created some difficulties, particularly for local fishermen, these gates can’t be yet another barrier for them. If Sispar are unable to manage the harbour and protect public access to it, then I believe a conversation needs to be had about the local authority taking it back in charge. The harbour should be accessible for all, if there are issues relating to antisocial behavior, they need to be addressed by those who are tasked with it, not by punishing the entire public.”
Wicklow County Council have stated that it will set out clear guidelines and criteria under which the gates can be closed.