Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten is facing calls to provide funding for the repair of a 200-year old weir on the river Blackwater in Fermoy, Co Cork.
The weir, which is a protected structure, is crumbling, affecting migrating salmon and several local sports clubs whose activities are based on the river.
Donal O’Keeffe from the ‘Save Fermoy Weir’ group has said the weir is “the aesthetic picture of Fermoy… I can’t imagine anything more Fermoy than the weir, the clock and the bridge”.
Mr O’Keefe began campaigning to save the weir ten years ago.
During that time, the weir has been breached badly as successive floods bring large amounts of debris downstream at high speed.
Mr O’Keeffe believes if action is not taken now, the weir will disintegrate and wash away.
The river Blackwater supports several sports clubs in Fermoy.
Its rowers have competed in the Olympics and it is also a noted salmon angling river, but damage to the salmon pass in the centre of the weir is affecting migration and spawning.
Local people will gather for a demonstration on the bridge in Fermoy on 21 April – World Fish Migration Day – to call on Cork County Council and Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten to take action.
Cork County Council is responsible for the up-keep of the weir.
The council has accepted the weir is in need of repair and has agreed the extent of the work to be done.
However, the council has warned that securing planning approval and funding for the project will take a long time.