GOOD RIDDANCE 'The Charisma' boat wreck has now been removed from Westport's Quay after lying there for 15 years. Pic: Conor McKeown
WESTPORT’s rotting wreck, the Charisma was broken-up and removed from the quayside over the weekend. Four months after The Mayo News highlighted the health and safety dangers of the eyesore and some 15 years after it was tied up at the end of the quay, there has been a broad welcome for its removal over the weekend by a company contracted by Mayo County Council.
Speaking yesterday, one campaigner, Cllr Peter Flynn (FG), said: “After at least 15 years blocking the channel and creating a serious health and safety hazard this is a very welcome sight. It is a miracle there was no serious incident on this wreck over the years and not too many people will shed too many tears with its removal. The taxpayer is picking up the cost for this job but I hope the council will pursue the owner for the costs incurred in relation to finally having it removed.”
Cllr Flynn said the wreck's removal was ‘another step in the rejuvenation of the Quay and Roman Island area with both abandoned boats now removed. There is a lot more to do but with all the recent upgrading of the area, we are heading in the right direction’.
His Westport colleague, Independent Cllr Christy Hyland (Ind) also stressed the urgency of ‘new bylaws’ to regulate parking and other matters at the Quay. Speaking also to The Mayo News yesterday, he said: “At a recent in-house meeting between the four county councillors from the Westport area and Padraig Walsh, Head of the Westport-Belmullet Municipal District, we discussed the need for new by-laws for the parking and mooring of boats at the Quay, as well as to regularise the parking of camper-vans.”
He explained that bylaws which existed before the Harbour Board handed over responsibility of this area to Mayo County Council in 2014 were antiquated.
He also revealed that the four councillors from the area – Cllrs Flynn, Brendan Mulroy (FF) and Johnno O’Malley (Ind), as well as himself – were investing significant funds in further upgrading the harbour area, which has become a very busy tourism destination.
The developments, he said, will include more pathways and steps to the swimming area.
“We want to develop this popular area and have it in pristine condition so that it is visually beautiful for both locals and visitors alike,” Cllr Hyland said.
Welcoming the removal of the Charisma, Rosmoney resident Mary Finan, said: “I am delighted that my campaign over the last ten years to have the rotting boat at the quay removed has borne fruit. I want to thank the councillors that rowed in behind me and The Mayo News for highlighting the disgraceful situation that went on for far too long. Writing letters and making phone calls isn’t always a waste of time.”
However, stressing the environmental responsibilities of removing such wrecks, Quay resident Eoin Holmes, observed that the removal operation ‘resulted in a huge amount of particles being released into Clew Bay because basic and simple environmental good practice wasn’t followed’. He asked why a boom wasn’t used to stop the dispersal of materials in the bay and to protect wildlife and humans.