Fine Gael local election candidate Jimmy Breathnach.

Fine Gael local election candidate Jimmy Breathnach.

News that 49 acres of the Cunnigar in Dungarvan is for sale has led to fears on both sides of the Bay that access to the sand bank could be jeopardised.

The issue has been highlighted by Fine Gael local election candidate Jimmy Breathnach, who is calling on Waterford County Council to explore the option of buying the land to safeguard access. He has requested a meeting with County Manager Ray O’Dwyer to seek reassurances on the future of the spit.

The Ballinagoul man says: “The way I look at it is: what does the council intend to do? Do they have the purchase of it under consideration? If it is sold to a private investor or a property developer is there a possibility they will put up a railing and block off access to the public? The rights of walkers could be taken away”

A well-known sportsman, more recently in greyhound circles, Jimmy, who worked in Ring Fishermen’s Co-op for 10 years after serving with the Defence Forces in the North and UN peacekeepers in Egypt, is involved with a cross-section of community organisations.

He is also concerned about ongoing maintenance of the spit. “It is a vital and natural piece of Dungarvan’s coastal defences. Without it Western Bay would suffer catastrophic flooding.

“With the weather we’re getting, the integrity of the Cunnigar is a big issue. It has been maintained by the council for over a hundred years with chain link fencing and stone to hold it together and protect it from coastal erosion.

“But if someone privately takes it over and this maintenance is not carried out, what, if anything is the council going to do?” he asks.