The Dursey Island cable car has been in operation since 1969 and for the past 43 years has been used to transport people, goods and animals.
There was no prior consultation with the Islanders and in August 2011 two representatives from the Council came to Dursey Island and announced that the weight limits would be imposed and that cattle could no longer be transported but the cable car would still carry smaller animals. In recent times this status has changed to a NO ANIMALS policy.
The Council has made an alternative suggestion of a barge. This is not feasible due to two reasons:
1)In poor weather conditions Dursey Island sound consists of strong currents and thus it will not be able to travel;
2)In the event of an emergency and an animal needing to be taken off the island, the barge may not be made available.
Swimming cattle is not an option as they could potentially get hypothermia and a local vet has confirmed this in writing and he has forwarded it to the Council.
Islanders to date have not been informed of any alternative strategy or resolution.
In addition to this, under the constitution the state is under a duty to protect your right to work and earn a livelihood from unjust attack The blanket ban on animals being transported on the cable car is a blatant infringement on Islander’s rights to make a living.
The Cable Car has 43 years unblemished safety record. Health and Safety is not the issue! In a report entitled “Report on works carried out on Dursey Island Cable car on the June 1st & 2nd 2011? it states that “30 number blocks which weighed 577.78kg (1,271 lbs) and ran the car out to the island station and back to the mainland station. We then checked all cables, ties and grip clips. Everything appeared in order. We then loaded an extra 20 number blocks on the car giving a load weight of 963kgs (2,118 lbs) and ran the car to the island station and back to the mainland station. Everything appeared to be in order”. In a track rope test on the 8th of October 2009 again weights were used and the comment that was made was that “operation ran smoothly”.
The Council are trying to use Health and Safety as an excuse as they are currently trying to secure funding from Board Failte so they have to play to Board Failte’s demands. It is a crying shame because the majority of tourists enjoy observing animals being transported on the cable car.
Research has shown that grazing semi-natural grassland is essential to maintain their biodiversity, if farming practices are ended on the island it will have major environmental consequences.