The funding of the maintenance and repair of weirs is not a matter that has fallen within the remit of my Department and it has no specific funding line for such projects. However, I understand that this is a very important project for Cork County Council and the community of Fermoy, in particular.
Given the priority attaching to the project, the matter was considered by the Oireachtas Committee on Public Petitions, on 3rd July last. My Department was represented at the hearing as were the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment; the Office of Public Works; Cork County Council; Inland Fisheries Ireland; and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
I understand that there was broad consensus at the hearing that given the cross-cutting nature of the project a co-ordinated approach involving all stakeholders would be the best way to ensure the optimum outcome. To this end, my Department is engaging with other stakeholders in an effort to agree a common approach to funding the project.
For my part, in view of the strategic importance of this project from an economic, social and environmental perspective, and in order to ensure that the project is not delayed any further, I am prepared to make a once off exceptional payment to Cork County Council, from the Local Government Fund, towards the costs of consultancy to bring the project through statutory approval and detailed design. However the appropriate bodies will have to provide funding, in due course, for the costs of any substantive works.