Committee Wants Diving Boards Restored To Fenit Bathing Slip

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A PUBLIC campaign has begun to restore diving boards to the bathing slip at Fenit with a committee hoping to have them installed by next summer.

The old diving boards at Fenit bathing slip.

The Restore Fenit Diving Boards Campaign Committee has been working over the past five months to compile an evidence-based technical proposal which they believe should result in the diving boards installed again.

During that time, the Committee — comprising Billy Ryle, Liam Doyle, John Edwards, Paddy Kissane and Mike O’Neill — has done a considerable amount of research to arrive at a proposal which they believer should be acceptable to and supported by the officials and elected members of Kerry County Council, which holds the foreshore licence for the bathing slip.

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A motion was put forward by Sinn Féin Cllr Pa Daly at the meeting of the Tralee Municipal District back in September that the diving boards to the slip in Fenit be restored and it received backing from a number of councillors.

However, Council management in reply said the boards were removed around 15 years ago on the advice of their Safety Advisor and following numerous insurance claims.

They said there is insufficient depth of water at this location in low tide and any proposal to re-erect the boards would require a thorough Water Safety Risk Assessment. Therefore, the Council said it will not reinstall the boards.

However, the Committee commissioned Malachy Walsh and Partners, Engineering and Environmental Consultants to undertake an extensive examination, by drone, of the dynamic of the site.

The diving boards at Kilkee, Co. Clare.

This exercise provided a comprehensive aerial profile, from which a three dimensional digital image of the site has been prepared. The committee has also studied the diving board facilities in Kilkee, Co. Clare where the topography and tidal conditions are comparable to those in Fenit.

The facilities which were constructed in Kilkee by Clare County Council are state of the art in terms of environmental aesthetics, construction and safety features.

Clare County Council designed the diving boards to ensure maximum safety, installed a water depth indicator and positioned conspicuous signage.

“Kilkee now has the finest outdoor open water diving facility along the Wild Atlantic Way and probably in the entire country. Fenit needs its diving boards every bit as much as Kilkee,” reads a statement from the committee.

“Our proposal is based on the Engineering and Environmental Consultants’ report and the Kilkee project. It emphasises the issue of personal safety, conspicuous placement of safety indicator/disclaimer notices and best practice by all users of the diving boards. The Committee is confident that funding for the Fenit project will be available through the Sports Capital Funding Portal of the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism,” continues the statement.

Restore Fenit Diving Boards Campaign Committee says the tradition of diving at Fenit bathing slip can be traced back to a timber structure which was erected in the 1920’s.

The concrete pillar for what is locally called “the low diving board” was built in the 1930’s and the pillar for “the high diving board” was built in 1954 as part of a major bathing slip upgrade by Tralee Swimming Club.

Fenit bathing slip has an untarnished safety record and was a popular venue for club, county and provincial diving championships prior to the advent of indoor facilities.  The diving boards at Fenit were a huge attraction for all age groups, especially young people, when they were in place.

The committee states that the restoration of the diving boards will put an end to the unsafe practice of jumping off the Pier an action which has the potential to cause serious injury.

They say there is still a genuine sense of loss at the removal of the diving boards and they are missed by both serious practitioners of spring board diving and those who do it for enjoyment, leisure and exercise.

Kerry County Council, which holds the foreshore licence for the public bathing slip in Fenit, maintains and cares for the facility to a high standard.

Restore Fenit Diving Boards Campaign Committee has requested an early meeting with Kerry County Council Officials to discuss the restoration of the diving boards and will cooperate fully with Kerry County Council in its environmental and technical inspection of the bathing slip.

“With goodwill and positive support from all interested parties the diving boards can be back in position on the 1st May 2018 for the opening of the summer swimming season,” concludes the statement from the committee.

2 Comments

  1. Would be great to see them restored.

  2. The council engineers met with the new Health and safety officer last week to discuss this issue

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