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  • Northside East

Sea wall decision is criticised

Monday, 15th January, 2018 8:00am
Sea wall decision is criticised

WALL TO WALL CONTROVERSY: Dublin City Councillors have voted to reduce the height of the sea wall at Clontarf. FILE PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Sea wall decision is criticised

WALL TO WALL CONTROVERSY: Dublin City Councillors have voted to reduce the height of the sea wall at Clontarf. FILE PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

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Shauna Bowers 

A BUSINESS group has criticised the decision by Dublin city councillors to reduce the height of the sea wall at Clontarf. 

Dublin Chamber said it goes against the advice of engineers and will leave the Clontarf area exposed to flooding in years to come. 

Dublin Chamber chief executive Mary Rose Burke described the decision as “short-sighted and wasteful”.

"The decision by councillors to lower the wall height is baffling on a number of levels,” said Ms Burke.

“Reducing the height means that the wall will no longer meet national flood protection standards and defies good and responsible planning. 

“This demonstrates a real lack of joined-up thinking at local authority level. The decision is a clear example of why a serious overhaul of the governance of the Dublin region is required.”

Ms Burke said that the decision threatens to undo the great work that has been done by Dublin City Council in recent years to protect the city from the increasing threat of flooding.

"We saw in 2011 how real the threat of flooding is to Dublin,” she said. “Since then, Dublin City Council has responded well to ensure that Dublin is equipped to cope in the future, as global warming leads to rising tides. 

“This decision serves as a kick in the teeth for other towns and cities in Ireland which are crying out for better flood defences.” 

The wall at James Larkin Road, which was erected last year and is being reduced in height from 4.25m to 3.95m, obstructs the sea views for motorists.

Last week, councillors made the decision to reduce the wall’s height in a vote that passed 34 to 21 with three abstentions.

It is estimated the work will cost Dublin City Council €230,000, with an extra €300,000 needed for cladding. The cladding was supposed to be undertaken when the wall was originally built. The initial erection of the wall was met with local protest as residents felt it would obstruct the sea views. Clontarf Residents’ Association wrote to Dublin City Council in August 2017, calling for the wall to be lowered after scientists showed that the reduction would “give protection to a one in 100-year event, as opposed to a one in 200-year event”.

The residents’ association said it welcomes the news, as it believes the views are integral to the community. 

“The importance of the visual link between the park (St Anne’s Park) and the biosphere was established in the An Bord Pleanála permission underpinning the existing Part 8 permission,” the association said.

“While much has been said about the loss of views for motorists, the real issue was the loss of the visual amenity and connection with the biosphere to all those many walkers not using the seaside footpath or cycle track and also to wheelchair users in the park. 

“We look forward to the timely completion of these works and the other outstanding items from the original works.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Ciaran Cuffe (GP) highlighted the importance of sea walls due to climate change.

“Sea levels in Dublin Bay are rising by as much as one centimetre a year this millennium,” Cllr Cuffe said.

“The scientific evidence around the world is that sea levels are rising. We run the risk of our coast being ineffectually defended in years to come.”

Cllr Damien O’Farrell (Ind) had supported the reduction.

“The wall is already built too high,” he said. 

“It has to be reduced and money needs to be spent on reducing that.” 

17 New EAST Sea Wall 1.jpg Dublin Chamber chief executive Mary Rose Burke.

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