Keen coarse fisherman Danny O’Neill is calling for design changes to the new £413,000 jetty at Shillington’s Quay which was officially opened on Friday.
The Ashgrove Manor man says he is having difficulty launching his 17-foot Shetland fishing boat in which he regularly plies the Bann to fish for pike, bream, perch and roach.
“The old quay certainly needed replacing, although I have to say I had few problems launching from there,” said Danny. “The new structure looks terrific, but a few adjustments are needed.
“There are too many kerbs in the car parking area which make it very difficult for anglers like me to manoeuvre into position to launch my boat from my trailer. The moorings need extended towards the slipway and the jetty is rather long.
“I simply can’t launch the boat on my own – help is needed – and a few adjustments would do the trick.
“It’s very tricky getting my boat from jetty to moorings. It’s rather frustrating, as I have been fishing the Bann for years, but it can easily be put right.” He added that much of the quay parking spaces were occupied by the motoring public which exacerbated the situation.
The quay was officially reopened by Lord Mayor Darryn Causby who took to the water in a sleek speedboat to set it all afloat.
The project, funded by the EU East Border Region and Craigavon Borough Council is part of a programme of substantial improvements earmarked for Portadown, which has completely revived the area with the installation of new paths, lighting and landscaping.
A spokesperson for the Eastern Region said, “The installation of a new, innovative floating pontoon means that access to the River Bann for locals, visitors and business users has been greatly improved.”
As Lord Mayor Causby skimmed along the water, he admired the modern amenities and contrasted them with the original purpose of the quay.
During the halcyon days of the Newry Canal, it was a true industrial port, with lighters sailing up from Newry.