Warning to public over rock fall risk at Blackhead

Barriers are to be strengthened at Blackhead Path.  INCT 32-790-CON
Barriers are to be strengthened at Blackhead Path. INCT 32-790-CON

Steps are to be taken by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to get Blackhead Path re-opened “as soon as possible”.

At the local government authority’s November meeting in Ballymena on Monday night, councillors voiced themselves firmly in favour of carrying out the repairs necessary to bring the path up to a safe standard which council chief executive Anne Donaghy stated could be in the region of £420,000.

In an update on the path, Mrs Donaghy said a report had been commissioned by Carrickfergus Council as it wound up and that the opinion of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland had since been engaged to review it.

The advice was that the route was “vulnerable to rock falls and presents a risk to users”, that the current barriers should be strengthened and more comprehensive signage provided to convey the risk to the public who may try to circumvent the barriers.

She said it was therefore “prudent” that external funding, if available, is secured as soon as possible to ensure the long term integrity of the path.

Councillors were generally supportive of a recommendation that the chief executive identify relevant resources in order to get path re-opened as soon as possible.

MEA Mayor, Councillor Billy Ashe described Blackhead Path as “a key asset for the people of this borough and tourists” and added that he was “very disappointed” by its closure.

His remarks were echoed by Cllr Paul Reid, Cllr Mark McKinty and Cllr Paul Sinclair who said: “We want to see this path fully re-opened as soon as possible”.

Warnings have been issued previously following claims of some members of the public ignoring barriers and signs.