OPW were warned crane on Skelligs world heritage site could be damaged or break away in bad weather

The OPW were warned multiple times that a crane installed at the Skellig Islands might be washed away in the event of severe weather.

The Skellig Boatman’s Association had raised concerns “numerous times” throughout the summer before the crane broke loose from the pier in early December.

In emails to the OPW, the association said: “Unfortunately, our fears have now been realised. This is a very concerning situation for us and one which needs to be addressed urgently.”

They said the exact location of the destroyed crane needed to be determined and a plan for its removal put in place to ensure safe navigation for boats.

An inspection of the island – which featured as a key location in the latest Star Wars series – found “no sign” of any of the crane or its components.

An internal email said: “There is no damage to the pier; the crane structure broke off at the anchoring points and, overall, it was a fairly clean break.

“A diver is going to go underwater in the coming days to see if there is any debris in the vicinity of the island but at present that seems unlikely.”