Heartache for Grainne as family home in Portrane is flattened

by Sylvia Pownall

Portrane woman Grainne Hannigan has told of her “disgust” at having to watch her home of 20 years being demolished by Fingal County Council.

The property, Wits End, was vacated following storm damage last year and last week the back wall of the structure fell onto the beach below.

Grainne said she was “absolutely devastated” watching her house being flattened from her dad’s property where she is staying, and which is just metres away.

She told Dublin Gazette: “I’m disgusted, I’m devastated, I’m heartbroken and I’m angry. The authorities were told of the risks long before this happened and they did nothing.

“We’ve had coastal erosion eating away chunks of land here for years. It’s my house now, but it won’t be the last. This is just the start of it.”

Grainne was forced to leave Wits End last March along with her daughter and granddaughter after Storm Emma battered the coastline.

She was later served with a notice to permanently vacate by Fingal County Council, which deemed the property unsafe. And while her daughter and granddaughter have been rehoused just this month, she is still living with her parents.

She said: “They’ve [the council] said they’ll get me a one-bed tenancy but that does not suit my needs. I have pets, I have a grandchild who comes to stay, and I have a mother with early-onset dementia.

“This is still going on a year later and I think I’ve reached the point where I’ve gone numb from the whole thing.

“The council said they can’t compensate me. The land can never be built on again. I’m left with a piece of land that is worthless and nowhere to call home.”

Heavy machinery arrived on site on Monday to begin the demolition of the house on Healy’s Lane, with special equipment to grind down the structure rather than break it up.

Fingal County Council is now planning to re-set the temporary coastal protection concrete blocks known as Seabees, which have sunk and tilted.

A permanent causeway-like structure remains under active consideration and will be discussed at an upcoming meeting of Fingal Coastal Liaison Group.

Grainne said: “It’s too late for me, but it’s not too late for them to take action to save the other houses here. My father’s house is just a few metres from the water now.

“There’s less than ten feet of bank left in front of the trees. I’ve been sending photos of the accel-erated erosion to Fingal County Council every week.

“The Seabees are not working – they’re creating a vortex, so the water is hitting the shoreline even harder. They need a rethink and

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