1. ITV Report

Gobbins cliff path to remain closed ‘into 2017’

The Gobbins cliff path, which was closed back in June due to safety concerns over rockfalls, is set to remain closed for the rest of the year and into 2017.

While some work has been undertaken to try to alleviate the problem of falling rocks posing a risk to the public or potentially damaging the bridge structures, more still needs to be done.

This is complicated by having to consider the impact of any remedial measures on nesting birds, and by now moving into the autumn and winter months when inclement weather is more likely.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Audrey Wales said the timing of the closure, over the peak period, was “unfortunate”, but “unavoidable”.

Council makes no apologies that the safety of visitors to the Gobbins is, and will always be, our first priority.

– Mayor Audrey Wales

The mayor added: “Unfortunately, we will not be re-opening the visitor attraction before the end of the year.

“Just how far into 2017 the opening date will be is not yet known.

“This is very much dependent on the approach taken in respect of completing the required work, to ensure that we adequately protect the natural environment within this Area of Special Scientific Interest; that we protect the bridges in situ from any rockfall resulting from the maintenance works; and, ultimately, to ensure that we make the attraction safe to re-open to visitors.”

The associated costs will also not be known until the exact nature of the work required is decided.

The coastal attraction near Islandmagee in Co Antrim only opened last year for the first time in over 50 years, at a cost of £7.5m.

But it ended up being closed in January until April and then again in June.

The Gobbins cliff path was intended to be open all year round, although dependent on weather conditions. Credit: Pacemaker