A Start--But Only a Start
ESB Begins to Make Amends for Creating
River Erne Environmental Disaster
On March 7, 2000, some fifty years after creating one of the worst
environmental disasters in Ireland, the Electricity Supply Board announced it is
moving to lessen its impact on the famous salmon river, the Erne, at
Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal.
Detailing plans to erect a footbridge linking both sides of the town to the
west of the present road bridge, an ESB news release said it aimed to assist
"local amenities and tourism in the Ballyshannon area."
As a first step being taken to restore access to the scenic beauty that was
the pride of its inhabitants, and that annually drew tourists in large numbers ,
the Board is to be congratulated. And, having taken it, the Board is encouraged
to follow it with full acceptance of the proposed restoration of the Falls of
Assaroe. Restoration is technically feasible.
Missing from the press release, which is reproduced from the ESB's own web
page on the Internet, is any mention of the salmon fishery that made the Erne at
Ballyshannon one of the premier angling rivers in Ireland. Having to negotiate
the Falls served to promote the health of the stock, cleansing the fish as they
made their way upriver to spawn.
Such omission is regretted, but the fact that a start is being made, and only
a start, to make amends for the lack of planning foresight of an earlier
generation of engineers, English, Scots, German, Irish, is to be welcomed by all
readers of "A Home Page with an Irish Flavour" who enthusiastically campaign for
the restoration of the Falls of Assaroe. A special word of thanks is due to
those in the schools of Ireland who have expressed support.
The ESB press release is as follows:
ESB PLANS AMENITY DEVELOPMENT NEAR HYDRO-ELECTRIC STATION
A programme aimed at assisting local amenities and tourism in the
Ballyshannon area has been proposed by ESB.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the commissioning of the first generator
at Cathaleen’s Fall, ESB propose to carry out some enhancement projects at the
tailrace area below Cathaleen’s Fall generating station in Ballyshannon,
including the building of a footbridge to a high standard, and the provision of
landscaped areas and seating for visitors.
As well as some landscaping along the tailrace, east of the existing
Ballyshannon bridge, it is planned to refurbish part of the tailrace banks on
both sides close to where the tailrace meets the estuary on the seaward side
where there is an existing weir and flume structure.
The area adjacent to the flume will be developed into a public park with park
furniture, shrub beds, pathways and access from the public roads. Part of the
proposal involves the construction of a footbridge across the Erne in that
location to link the two areas together.
Mr Pat Naughton, Station Manager, explained: “It is intended that the bridge
itself will be to a high standard of visual design and, it is expected, it will
enhance the view along the tailrace from the existing road bridge with the
estuary in the background.”
He said that seating areas would be provided in the public parks in the areas
at both sides of the river. It is expected that this development will provide a
natural facility for circular walks linking, as envisaged, the Mall and swimming
pool areas on the north side to the public road on the south side. It is hoped
also to provide wheelchair access in the park area.
“The area particularly lends itself to such development. The proposed park
will provide very pleasant views of Inis Saimer and the Mall Quay as well as
providing access close to the river,” continued Mr Naughton.
| Canadian Vindicator