COVID-19 lockdown breaches at Kinnego Marina probed

Breaches of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions by boat owners in Kinnego Marina are being investigated by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 11:03 am

Complaints have been made that some boat owners moved boats out of the marina and into Lough Neagh against government guidelines.

Other complaints are that some boat owners are power hosing and gathering in boats in groups, also against government guidelines.

One source claimed vessels moved in late January from the visitors’ jetties, due to rising water levels, to safer main berths.

Photo of Kinnego Marina before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, after five weeks they were allowed to move back.

“Some vessels moved back, some went motoring out in Kinnego Bay and some went further out onto Lough Neagh.

“When they came back the following weekend in calm weather they checked their boats and a group of four people met on one boat in public view. Two had a smoke in the vessel then went back into the main cabin and closed the door. All other berth holders watched this over two weekends and were annoyed at the Covid regulations breach,” said the source, who has lost family and friends to COVID-19.

“I do not want to see more loss in the community.”

Claims have also been made that grant money for a new jetty at Kinnego was solely for visiting boats and not for boat owners to berth there permanently.

A spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said; “In 2014 Council received grant aid in order to construct a jetty at Kinnego Marina, thus increasing the berth holding capacity and allowing more accommodation for visiting boats. This jetty is used for both visiting boats and more permanent berth holders.

“Earlier this year high water levels forced some of the berth holders moored at this jetty to move their boats into other berths vacated by boats which had been removed for the winter, in order to protect the boats and the jetty.

“When the water levels subsided these boats were brought back to their own jetty.

“A complaint was made that this movement of boats was contrary to the current Covid restrictions, however Council are advised that boat owners are currently allowed to act to protect their property should the need arise.

“A further complaint has recently been made that whilst in the process of moving the boats between the jetties, some of the berth holders brought their boats out of the harbour area, and that some of the berth holders were behaving in a way that contravened the current restrictions.

“Council is in the process of investigating this allegation and has informed all berth holders that such actions are not permitted.

“Council would also encourage anyone who witnesses a breach of the current restrictions to report it promptly to the relevant authorities.”

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