Fermoy Rowing Club regatta nixed by flood relief works delays
Fermoy Rowing Club's biggest event of the year, their annual regatta, looks set to become a casualty of delays in completing the flood protection works at Ashe Quay.
Club chairman, Pat Granville was angry and disappointed this week that the regatta won't be held on what was to have been it's 50th consecutive year.
"It's a major disappointment," he said. "We had been told by the OPW and Lagan Construction in January that works at the section of Ashe Quay by the Community Youth Centre would be done by March-April and the new toilet block constructed by June but they haven't met any of their deadlines," the club chairman says.
The regatta was to have taken place on June 30th. Despite numerous meetings with the OPW and Lagan Construction and repeated lobbying of Minister Sean Sherlock's office, he says they cannot secure any assurances that the works will be completed at Ashe Quay in time to let the event go ahead.
"We're operating under very difficult conditions as it is, due to the works," Pat said, explaining that launching boats is problematic and other club activities are restricted.
The annual regatta is one of the most popular events in the rowing calendar. It has been consistently voted the country's best-run regatta for many years and between 100 and 150 races take place in the event. That number of races demands a very high level of advanced planning and organisation and uncertainty over the completion date of the works at Ashe Quay leaves the club with no other option but to halt their plans for this year.
The regatta attracts a crowd of between three and five thousand people to the town each year from all over Ireland and is a high point in the town and club's sporting and social calendar. Established in 1884, the club is recognised as a progressive one, with Olympians and world champions to its credit.
Pat Granville said he wasn't looking forward to attending the Munster Branch AGM this week where he'd have no choice but to reveal the bad news to members.
Lagan Construction and the OPW were contacted for comment on the matter but hadn't responded at the time of going to press. Minister Sean Sherlock felt the criticism of him was 'a little bit unfair'. He said the most recent conversation he'd had with the rowing club was when he met a member at the St Patrick's Day Parade where their issues were conveyed to him.
"That was the first I heard of any issue around timelines. I understand that as the local Government Minister I will take the flack on this but I will do everything I can for the rowing club, as I have always done," he said. "Since that informal conversation on St Patrick's Day I have referred the matter to Minister Brian Hayes," he revealed. "I have always endeavoured to work pro-actively with the rowing club and will do my very best to see that this matter is expedited," he said.
Friday 29th March 9:17am