Lighting the Marina, one of Cork’s best-loved amenities, for the winter months would be a boon to a weary public but longer-term plans are needed to make it safer and more accessible to all.

That is according to one of Cork’s leading cycling advocates, who echoed the calls made by public representatives to light the well-used amenity.

Scullers on the River Lee by the Marina in Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.
Scullers on the River Lee by the Marina in Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.

Chair of Cork Cycling Campaign, Conn Donovan, said lighting the area would benefit all citizens, but cautioned that crumbling road surfaces and footpaths needed addressing, as well as potential overcrowding on busy evenings.

It comes just days before the end of public consultation on keeping the Marina pedestrianised.

A proposal to close the Marina to vehicles permanently from its junction with the northern entrance of Páirc Uí Chaoimh to its junction with Church Avenue, went out to public consultation last month, and will close to submissions next Monday, November 2.

Dara and Clodagh Russell enjoying a cycle at the Marina, Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.
Dara and Clodagh Russell enjoying a cycle at the Marina, Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.

Calls this week to not only keep it pedestrianised, but also to install lighting in the winter months were amplified locally.

City councillors like Des Cahill and Kieran McCarthy said it was an initiative that would have broad support, while transport minister Eamon Ryan will be asked to stump up the cash needed when he meets online with council members on Friday.

Cork City Council said that despite speculation that the GAA should fork over the funds as part of planning conditions attached to Páirc Uí Chaoimh being built, lighting the Marina at night was a separate issue.

The Marina recently pedestrianised as part of the Reimagining Cork City Programme. Picture: Clare Keogh
The Marina recently pedestrianised as part of the Reimagining Cork City Programme. Picture: Clare Keogh

The local authority told the Irish Examiner it is currently “evaluating the options which exist in the short and long term with regards to lighting the Marina”. 

The council’s operations directorate said: “This process involves a review of the specific site requirements, costings of the project, implementation timescales and deliverability of the various different options. 

“Once this process is complete, a decision will be made regarding what might be implemented.

“The issue of the Páirc Ui Chaoimh planning condition is a distinctly separate matter. This condition did not relate solely to the Marina but encompassed a wider area of interest. 

“Cork City Council continues to actively engage with the other parties with regards to this condition.” 

Mr Donovan said that most people were not overly concerned with how it was funded, but more that it was done.

“We’ve seen how vital exercise is to people during the pandemic. Lighting the Marina for the winter months would extend that opportunity for many people,” said Mr Donovan. 

“What is of concern however is the instability of the surfacing. Ballybrack Woods, or the Mangala, in Douglas is an example of how to do it correctly. It has been a fantastic amenity with surfacing, CCTV and LED lighting.”