After all the protests, the waiting, the meetings – the kicking and the screaming – inevitably, it all comes down to money.
In the long-running case of the three Greystones fishermen fighting for their right to land their catches in Greystones’ new harbour, well, it’s a heck of a lot of money.
To dock their fishing boats for one year in their hometown, it’s going to cost Eric O’Riley and Tim Storey €4,400 each, and for Ivan Toole, it’s a tidy €7,800.
And that’s without breakfast.
The rates from BJ Marine – who signed a 30-year contract with Wicklow County Council to run the town’s new marina – are very much full whack, and very possibly the most expensive harbour rates in the country. The next most expensive in the area is Howth, which is charging €1,600 for the year, whilst Rosslare is the cheapest, at €200.
Bottom line, BJ Marine is the fat kid with the ball, and given that they might just be short of a few sheckles right now – with Bernard’s Look Around Café sitting in limbo for well over a year, and, bizarrely, two mooring posts reportedly still waiting for their pontoons in this overflowing marina – they would appear to be in a win-win situation here.
If Ivan and co cough up this top rate, BJ Marine are quids in. If the lads decide the fees are too much, the problem of smelly fishermen shenanigans in this rich man’s playground will simply float away. With their fishing lines between their tails.
Trying to give a summary of the rocky back and forth that has led us to this point would be a bit like trying to squeeze War And Peace down to a single paragraph. Suffice to say, there’s been a lot of troubled waters and bad blood over the years – as 15 previous Guide reports on this stand-off prove. You can check the highlights linked below, including how the town’s old, largely-retired generation of fishermen were paid off.
For now, it’s all down to Wicklow County Council and SISK subsidising these fishermen’s fees. With both parties being, we’ve been told, happy to do so.
With another, possibly final meeting planned on November 21st, we caught up with Ivan on this fine and windy Saturday to find out if there just might finally be something fine on the end of this line…
You can check out June’s blockade of the harbour here, the May protest here, how the old harbour became the new harbour here, and read Jago Hayden’s thoughts on Who Really Owns The Harbour? here.