There are fresh hopes for the long-running controversy over plans to provide a cable car to the tiny island of Inishbiggle off the Mayo coast.
The half-mile that separates Inishbiggle from the mainland is one of the most dangerous stretches of sea in the country. Since the mid-1980s, the Island Co-op has been campaigning for a cable car similar to the one that serves Dursey Island off the Cork coast. However, planning permission was refused by Mayo County Council on the grounds that
It would be visually obtrusive in an area of special scenic importance, that it would create traffic problems and that it would devalue houses in the vicinity.
At a Pleanala hearing in Castlebar today, the Co-op argued that the situation on the island was now extremely serious and that the decision to deprive islanders of a cable car was threatening the future of the island.
Families living on Inishbiggle were a forgotten people.
The Co-op has now agreed to submit new proposals to relocate the cable car stations some distance from where they were originally planned. Mayo County Council has now agreed to look at the new cable car plan in an effort to end the Islanders many years of isolation.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 14 October 1997. The reporter is Jim Fahy.