Cruiser overcrowding on Lough Derg is set to ease with the opening of new community-managed jetty in Ballina which has been officially opened by the Minster for Agriculture and the Marine, Simon Coveney.
Cllr Phyll Bugler of the organising group, Friends of the Lake, explained that the ongoing shortage of public berthing spaces in Ballina often caused cruisers to be tied 4 abreast at the existing north Tipperary stone pier.
Thus, Friends of the Lake, under the chairmanship Jim Watkins, applied to North Tipperary LEADER Partnership for funding to erect a public jetty. This application was successful and the community have taken a 30 year lease on the facility.
“This state-of-the-art jetty with power and water facilities will further enhance the existing tourism facilities in the heritage towns of Ballina / Killaloe” added Cllr Bugler.
Cllr Jonathan Meaney, vice-chairperson of North Tipperary LEADER Partnership, praised the local community effort and said that NTLP were happy to be in position to provide €142,000 grant aid,
“NTLP would also like to acknowledge the wider efforts of so many community groups and entrepreneurs in the area for their participation in the current LEADER programme and for making sure that we have a strong pipeline of quality projects in which to invest.
He went to outline the level of LEADER investment in lake communities since 2009,
“Over the past four years, NTLP has committed €833,000 to 17 projects in Ballina and other communities along the Tipperary side of the lake. These grants have included tourism accommodation, recreational activities, walks and environmental enhancement as well as business supports.”
Deputy Noel Coonan said: “My colleague and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney kindly agreed to carry out the official opening in Ballina and I am pleased the event was a major success and brought a great crowd to the area. The popular heritage town has a lot happening with boating, fishing, community and tourism interests and it was uplifting to see the area buzzing with life.
“We are always eager to attract visitors to Tipperary and this is a state of the art facility that will undoubtedly attract many welcome tourists. The project was sponsored by North Tipperary LEADER Partnership, the Lakeside Hotel and the local community. It will bring added infrastructure to Ballina and enable boats and leisure crafts on the River Shannon to berth in Ballina and also avail of the wonderful facilities of Lakeside Hotel,” said Deputy Coonan.
Minister Coveney, an accomplished seafarer and yachtsman, praised the quality of the jetty, which, he said, was set to become a key piece of infrastructure for the area.