The Government appears committed to turning part of Haulbowline, home of the Irish Naval Service, into a tourist park despite a report by the Office of Public Works (OPW) that the location is unsuitable as a public amenity.
The island lies in Cork harbour and is connected to the mainland by a roadbridge. The Irish Naval Service Base is located on the western side and the east side is the former location of a steelworks. The Government plans to spend €61m to turn the east side of the island into a public park with a sports field, walkways and cycle trails with preliminary work already begun.
However it’s been revealed that a working group set up by the OPW in 2009 to examine the future potential of the site at East Tip have made an alternative recommendation. They determined that any future use of Haulbowline faced a number of challenges including lack of adequate mains water supply and wastewater infrastructure, the reliance on a single road access point, lack of public transport, security concerns and lack of existing community facilities and services. They concluded that the site was unsuitable for use either as a public amenity, housing or industry.
The working group which included representatives from the OPW and government departments including defence, finance and environment put forward that the work to improve East Tip could provide “a unique opportunity” to expand the Irish Naval Service’s HQ which has an urgent need of more berthing facilities.
So what do you reckon – tourist park or improved naval base?