Fenit Pier is a disaster waiting to happen according to Sinn Féin Cllr Deirdre Ferris after members of Fenit lifeboat were delayed in responding to an emergency call-out on Sunday because of parked cars along the pier.
llr Ferris explained that the incident occurred when Fenit lifeboat received three callouts within the space of an hour, one of which involved six children and three adults who were cut-off from the shore by the incoming tide and required rescuing.
Cllr Ferris said the lifeboat was delayed for up to four minutes as a result of the pier being blocked by the cars. A mechanic must be aboard a lifeboat during all call-outs, but the mechanic was unable to make it through the pier to get to the boat because of parked cars. This resulted in other members of the lifeboat crew having to physically move the cars, as trying to locate their owners would have wasted vital time in their rescue.
“It took members of the lifeboat to get out of the boat and start physically moving cars. I’ve been told that this is something that only happens in good weather. It doesn’t,” Cllr Ferris said.
Cllr Ferris raised the issue at the last Tralee Municipal District meeting where she was informed the problem is due to the unprecedented good weather and extra footfall. She was also informed that this is not a matter for Kerry County Council as the pier is treated as a roadway and is therefore a Garda matter, something Cllr Ferris refutes.
“There is not enough room for parking. The entire right-hand side of the pier is dedicated to parking. On the other side there is a double yellow line and there is no room for two cars to pass each other. People are parking on the double yellow lines because there is no room available. What you have then is a complete blockade, it’s shocking,” she said. Cllr Ferris explained that she has been informed by lifeboat crew members that this is an ongoing problem and despite numerous attempts to highlight the issue, nothing has been done. The absence of a harbour crane, due to maintenance, is also exacerbating the problem for local fishermen. The crane was sent for repairs in June but has still not been reinstated. A situation Cllr Ferris believes is posing as much of a financial threat to fishermen as a physical one.
“This is a working dock and if anyone requires an ambulance, it has to wait for the cars to move. I’ve contacted KCC’s CEO about the pier, particularly about the fishermen. Those fishermen are trying to haul up massive loads themselves simply because the crane is missing. It’s a severe problem there,” Cllr Ferris said.
All those who got into difficulty were successfully rescued.