Camden Fort Meagher in Carrigaline faces numerous obstacles if it is to open this summer.

Summer reopening for Camden Fort doubtful

The reopening of Camden Fort Meagher to the public this summer is looking increasingly doubtful following an official statement from Cork County Council.

The statement comes after a month of speculation as to the future of the popular historic site after volunteers revealed in April they had not been able to enter the fort since September 2022.

Cork County Council said the issues are “significant in terms of challenge and scale” regarding safety and staffing would have to be addressed before the Crosshaven fort can reopen, which the council said “will take time”.

The statement also confirmed the executive’s decision to dissolve the fort’s designated activity company (Camden Fort Meagher Developments DAC) and transfer responsibility for the site’s management to the Carrigaline Municipal District.

Last autumn, the Camden Fort Meagher Developments DAC undertook a review of operations at the fort which identified a number of issues concerning health and safety, financial and budgetary, staffing and governance, management, maintenance, volunteers, and marketing.

An action plan must now be developed which addresses all of the recommendations within the review before the fort can reopen. The action plan is to be led by a new general manager who is currently being recruited.

The council said it is committed to progressing the transition as quickly as possibly and that it appreciates elected members’ and the public’s desire to see the site opened “sooner rather than later”.

Officials also noted that the decision to dissolve the DAC and transfer responsibility to the Carrigaline MD goes a long way to addressing significant elements of the risks identified.

The statement read: “Members will appreciate that the transfer presents an additional workload to the MDORD Directorate and the Carrigaline MD team, as well as a new function with which staff are unfamiliar.

“While reopening of the fort is now a priority for the council, it must be done in such a manner to provide assurance as to the safety of staff, volunteers and visitors and ensure a sound management structure with responsibility for all operational and developmental aspects of the facility, as part of the wider MD team.”

One of the criticisms directed towards the council in recent weeks by councillors was the lack of any communication with regards to its plans for Camden Fort Meagher.

Cork County Council Chief Executive, Tim Lucey, said: “I understand that members and some volunteers have been frustrated at the lack of information to date. However, other than the closure of the fort and the commissioning of the review, there was nothing to share until such time as the review was completed and certain necessary decisions were taken.”