FISHERMEN in Achill have voiced their frustration with Mayo County Council after they were did not open the swing bridge at the entrance to the island to let them through.
The new Michael Davitt Bridge which connects the island to the mainland is a swing bridge which opens to allow maritime traffic to pass through. However, a fisherman who are currently harvesting oysters told The Mayo News that the Council failed to swing the bridge for him and other fishermen despite giving the necessary 48 hour notice.
“I rang on Tuesday [February 6] and asked for the bridge to be swung on Thursday morning and I gave them 48 hours notice which is what we are supposed to do. I was told they could not do it but they could do it the following week. I am in the middle of harvesting oysters and that is no good to me,” the fishermen who did not wish to be named told The Mayo News.
“I know other fishermen who have asked and were told they were not able to swing it for them. It is a huge inconvenience for us because to go through the bridge when its closed we have to do it at low tide and take down all the masts and aerial equipment. Then we have to wait at the other side of the bridge for the tide to rise before carrying on.
“They spent so much money on the new bridge and yet they cannot open it when we ask. This is our livelihood and it is unacceptable.”
The new €5 million bridge was completed in 2008 but was dogged with problems since it opened. In November 2010, the bridge failed to close after it was opened to let a boat through and it took over two hours before engineers could rectify the problem.
Mayo County Council have previously denied there is any problems opening and closing the bridge but safety issues mean they cannot open it on windy days. The last time the bridge was opened was last August when the community celebrated the 130th anniversary of the first bridge’s construction with a flotilla of vessels passing through.