According to a Radio Kerry story, the gate had to be removed for maintenance and Tralee Town Council had “no time frame” for replacing it.
It seems to me, from Holger’s photos, that only one gate of the upper pair was removed. If the lower gates were working properly, surely they should be able to keep the canal in water.
It is some years since I visited Tralee. At the time, there was a largeish barge moored on the canal at the bridge. If it hasn’t been moved, I presume that its occupants are now unhappy.
I do not know what Tralee Town Council, or whoever it was, hoped to achieve by restoring the canal (or, for that matter, why whoever it was built the Jeanie Johnston, which was a huge waste of money). But whatever they hoped to achieve, I suspect that the canal failed to meet expectations. I do not know whether there has ever been a formal review of the project but I cannot imagine that it provided a reasonable return on investment.
The best thing to do with it now would be to seal up the seaward end with a fixed wall, forget about opening the bridge, maintain some flow through the canal to keep the water from becoming overly offensive and let the rowers take over the canal.
Addendum February 2015
This story from The Kerryman in November 2014 escaped my notice; it says that the damaged gates were replaced. It also says that the gates “now have a new motorised opening system that replaces the old crank mechanism”, which may reflect some confusion on the Kerryman‘s part as the gates were hydraulically operated.
I still don’t understand why the lower gates, or stop planks, could not have been used to maintain the level in the canal.
Addendum March 2015
Kerry County Council confirms that the lock has been restored and that the canal is fully operational.
See also comments below.