Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Solution in sight on the Lacken Weir??

It was back to Council business yesterday, after a sociable weekend in Kilkenny. Huge congrats to Shane O' Brien and Ellen Nolan who were married on Friday and thanks for a great night's craic in Lyrath. We'll turn up even if Bertie won't Xavier. On Saturday it was off to Croker for Billy Joel. For anybody under 35, please refer to Google!! We were with friends John and Myra, and a good night was had by all.

Yesterday saw a joint briefing for Borough and County Councillors by O.P.W. officials on their plans to replace the disastrous Lacken Weir which hit the headlines so much last Spring. What happened then was outrageous, although, as many speakers pointed out yesterday, the overall effect of the River works has been hugely beneficial for the city centre. The officials estimated yesterday that the damage which would have been done by the last major flooding would have been close enough to the cost of the work so far.

They are now proposing to replace the Denil Pass which was so unsuccessful last year with a rock ramp which will allow the salmon a more gradual passage on their way to their spawning grounds further up tyhe Nore. They have visited a number of similar sites, including in Germany, and seem confident that this solution will work. I warmly welcome their proposals and hope to God they do work. This stuff is an indefinite science, and I genuinely think that the O.P.W. are doing their best. Their characterisation in the local media sometimes as bumbling incompetents is wide of the mark. Local anglers I have talked to seem to be relatively happy also.

It amused me to hear one Fianna Fáil Councillor say that it was their priority to get the fish up the river to spawn. He should have told that to Pat the Cope Gallagher when he was Minister and doing his best to continue allowing the drift-net fishermen to kill every salmon they could before they ever got into the Nore. Equally amusing was the Fine Gael Councillor who was very anxious to know that it would be O.P.W. staff who would actually carry out the work. I reminded him that Labour always believed that public servants do it better. Fine Gael's conversion will be welcomed by all of us on the left!

The proposal also looks like it will be hugely visually attractive, and this canoeist is looking forward to trying to paddle down a fine challenging weir.


riverbanker said...

What's wrong with Kilkenny salmon? Can they not swim? Have you ever seen Corrib salmon jumping up the weir in Galway? I think that what's interfering with the salmon population on the Nore has nothing to do with concrete and weirs, but might just have two legs, a net and the keys to the back doors of MANY hotel kitchens.

seankk said...

You're right riverbanker. Pocahing is a huge problem. The problems with the weir seem to have been genuine however, and there's no doubt it caused problems with the winter and spring runs. Hopefully the Fishery Board resources won't continue to be pumped into monitoring this and the lads and lasses?! will be freed up to pursue the exponents of our 'second oldest' profession.

riverbanker said...

Austin Currie used to ask, "Why aren't the badgers of Northern Ireland spreading TB all over the place, like the badgers of the Republic?" He was making the point, how come wildlife doesn't have a problem with borders? Nobody has explained, in any coherent way, what the problem is, with salmon jumping less than two metres in Kilkenny. Surely the problem is raw sewage pollution, and gravel extraction, an interference with habitats etc etc

seankk said...

Listen riverbanker, I'm a local councillor, not Dick Warner! The science of gravel extraction is not one of my strong points. As to pollution, the EPA reports on the water quality don't suggest we're all about to die, and my own frequent capsizes from a Kayak and my mad swim of the Nore last year don't seem to have had any lasting effects, though my wife might argue differently