Greystones Harbourmaster has been accused of false imprisonment as he locks the gate to the pier leaving a fisherman stranded in his vehicle

Greystones Harbour master has been accused of false imprisonment as he locks the gate to the pier leaving a fisherman stranded in his vehicle

Issues at Greystones Harbour in Co Wicklow took another turn over the weekend as the harbour master was accused of false imprisonment.

A video purported to show the harbour master locking the gates to the pier leaving a fisherman stranded in his vehicle.

The 50 second video appeared on Facebook on Friday 28 October at 12.30 showing the the fisherman sitting behind a locked gate in his vehicle as the harbour master approached him and opened the gate, just to close it behind him again. The harbour master approached the van but when the fisherman refused to put down the phone he left, leaving the pier and locking the gate behind him, leaving the fisherman with no way out.

A shocked witness to the incident has lodged two complaints calling on Wicklow Country Council and local politicians, Minister Simon Harris TD (FG) and Minister Stephen Donnelly TD. Along with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue to intervene in the dispute between harbour developers and local residents.

Ms Rosemarie Devereux who witnessed the incident writes in her letter:

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“I am an ordinary member of the public who would like to make two official complaints. 

“The first is about the treatment of a local fisherman yesterday, 28 October 2022, at Greystones harbour.  I was a witness to how he had been deliberately imprisoned behind the padlocked gates of the North pier by the acting harbour master, for simply doing his job. 

“The second, concerns the right of the public to walk the North Pier. When I approached the North pier yesterday for my walk, an attempt was made to prevent me from accessing same by someone who had no authority to do so.”

Wicklow County Council has come under fire for their handling of the situation and many in the town believe that the aim of the developers is to drive out locals from this area of Greystones in order to turn it into an exclusive harbourside development for wealthy individuals to live and berth their pleasure crafts.

The issue of harassment by the harbour master was highlighted last week by the Save Greystones Fishing Fleet group who asked anyone who had been threatened or harassed by the harbour master to report it to Wicklow Country Council.

How Wicklow County Council managed to sell-off the harbour area to private developers has remained unanswered. Locals using the harbour for either fishing or leisure activities claim they have been met with threats, harassment and intimidation, being told that they are not welcomed there.

Ms Devereux continues:

“Additionally, I would like to know how – when during the original negotiations concerning the Harbour development plan, the rights of the public to access the harbour piers as well as the rights of the fishermen to continue earning their living from the area, were to be maintained – this has now all changed?  More importantly, I ask, how has it come about that the Greystones harbourmaster is allowed veto those rights through physical intimidation, harassment, bullying and threatening behaviour towards the people of Greystones whether they wish to walk the pier or launch their boats, etc to earn their living. 

“I appreciate that there is a court case looming between the developers and WCC over the ownership of the pier which seems to me to be totally inconsistent with the ideals behind the development.    

“How come the rights of those who use the marina for pleasure – ie. the boat owners – are prioritised over those who had previously earned their living by fishing there. 

“Should the court case go the way of the developers, how will that effect both the public’s access to what was traditionally recognized as public property and the rights of the fishermen to fish in peace. And more importantly, how will the fishermen be compensated for their loss?”

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