A €75,000 crane installed to great fanfare at a pier near Fanad over a year ago has been gathering rust because it was never connected to the electricity grid.
The shocking blunder came to light during a meeting of Letterkenny Municipal District when councillors called for upgrades to be made to Ballywhoriskey Pier.
The hydraulic crane was erected at Ballywhoriskey as part of a €4.5 million funding package for harbours announced by then Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.
Unveiling the cash boost last February, Minister Coveney said the money would provide a “major contribution to the social and economic fabric of coastal communities” and would “ultimately create the environment for job creation”.
But the crane at Ballywhoriskey was never wired to an electricity supply and as a result has been sitting dormant ever since.
At this month’s meeting of Letterkenny Municipal District councillors asked that a member of Donegal County Council’s marine team be summonsed to explain why the device has never been activated.
Sinn Féin’s Adrian Glackin said that a number of improvements were required on Ballywhoriskey Pier and that efforts needed to be made to get the crane up and running.
“It looks the part but there is no power going to it,” Cllr Glackin said.
“It is one thing putting this crane in place but it needs to be fully functional if it is to reach its maximum potential and it is important that we get a plan in place so we know when it is going to be available.”
Cllr Glackin added that he would also like to see sharp rocks cleared from Ballywhoriskey to enable a second pontoon to be put in place.
Cllr Liam Blaney backed the concerns and said the issue surround the sharp rocks could be sorted with minimal effort and expense to Donegal County Council.
But he too said the issue regarding the dormant crane needed to be addressed.
“As far as I remember the crane cost around €100,000 and it was very welcome at the time but it has never been used.
“I believe if we had someone from the marine here they could explain why but no one ever seems to be available.”
Donegal County Council vowed that someone from its marine section would be in attendance at the next meeting of Letterkenny Municipal District to explain the oversight.