An electricity outage that saw the scoreboard at county GAA match go blank is being linked to the removal of a sunken boat from a nearby canal.
The Badger vessel had been moored along Albert Basin in Newry Canal for some years before taking on water and submerging in January close to a pedestrian area.
The removal of the boat by crane took place on Sunday (April 23) afternoon. But during the removal, according to a witness, the mast of the boat struck an overhead electricity line as it was transported on the back of a lorry towards Warrenpoint harbour area.
The incident occurred as more than 11,500 GAA fans were watching the Down v Donegal Ulster quarter final match at nearby Pairc Esler. Fans saw the Pairc Esler scoreboard go blank for a time leaving officials having to announce subsequent scores over the loudspeaker system.
A NI Electricity (NIE) spokesperson said: “NIE Networks was alerted to an incident involving an overhead line at half five on Sunday 23rd April in the Kilmorey Street area of Newry.
“Engineers responded immediately to begin repair work and make the area safe. Nine customers were impacted and power was restored approximately five hours later.”
The Local Democracy Service asked the council if it would review any policy on the removal of sunken vessels in Newry canal, in light of the three month delay in removing the Badger and the electricity incident.
Concerns had also been raised locally on the potential for oil or fuel pollution into the wildlife habitat of the city’s waterway.
A NMDDC spokesperson said: “The council does not foresee any requirement to change the current policy on the berthing of boats at Newry Canal.
“The recovery of the boat was arranged by the boat owner and carried out by a private contractor. Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has no further details in regards to its removal.
“There is no evidence of any oil or pollutants remaining in the canal following the removal of the boat, however the council will continue to liaise with the NI Environment Agency.”