‘Wheely Boat’ flag day this Saturday

IN BETTER DAYS - Locals enjoying a spin on the Wheely Boat Mk III up the River Blackwater from Fermoy, as part of Heritage Week in 2019. Let's hope 2022 brings strong support for this local facility. (Picture: John O'Connell)

Saturday, March 12 is to mark the return of the annual flag fay in aid of Fermoy’s wheelchair accessible boat – the ‘Wheely Boat’ (An Spiorad Saor John Mahon).

Now celebrating its 15th year in operation, the popular attraction is to see its key fundraiser return following a 2-year suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chris ‘Kipper’ O’Donovan, who operates the Wheely Boat along with a small group of volunteers, has asked the public to be generous on the day as bucket collections will take place.

“I’m asking everybody to bring a bit of spare change in their pockets into town. On average, we used to make around €900 on flag day and the actual running costs are between €1,100 and €1,200 a year, and that’s if we don’t have any breakdowns or issues,” Mr O’Donovan said.

Income for the Wheely Boat has also been impacted year on year due to the breach in Fermoy weir, seeing increasingly low water levels which prevent the boat from operating.

Insurance, accountancy costs, a licence, fuel costs and more add to the expense of running the boat.

“The flag day is all we have to support us, bar the odd trip up and down the river. We’d like to ask people to be generous on March 12 and help keep our boat afloat,” Mr O’Donovan added.