Waves of anger as flood wall to be lowered

by Sylvia Pownall

DUBLIN Chamber has hit out at a “short-sighted” decision to lower the flood barrier at Clontarf to give drivers a clearer view of the sea.

 

At City Hall, councillors voted by 34-21 in favour of reducing the height of the sea wall despite advice from engineers that it would have to be rebuilt in the future.

 

Dublin City Council chief Owen Keegan warned that the reduction in height to below national standards would leave the area exposed to flooding.

 

The works – at an estimated cost of €530,000 – have been slammed by Chamber chief executive Mary Rose Burke who described the move as “short-sighted” and “wasteful”.

 

She said: “The decision is baffling on a number of levels … and defies good and responsible planning.”

 

Cllr Michael O’Brien (AAA) also criticised the vote. He posted on Twitter: “I was the only Dublin City Council councillor for the north central area to oppose the lowering of part of the Clontarf sea wall …

 

“The council ultimately won’t be thanked for reducing flood protections to below nationally recommended standards.”

 

The wall was built as part of the €5 million Clontarf greenway which took two years to construct and opened last May. A 600m stretch will now be lowered by 30cm after residents complained of obstructed views.

 

But the wall at its current level does not block views of Dublin Bay for pedestrians and cyclists using the new path – and the stretch being lowered is not directly opposite any houses.

 

Councillors were criticised on social media with calls for a breakdown of the vote to be made public.

 

One comment read: “Surely motorists should be watching the road. Insane decision, given the flooding risks. Waste of money.”

 

Cllr Damian O’Farrell (Ind) lobbied for the reduction on behalf of residents who claimed the wall would obstruct views of Bull Island and St Anne’s Park.

 

He said: “The main reason is that the wall is situated in a buffer zone of two areas of natural beauty; the Bull Island biosphere and St Anne’s Park.”

 

But Dublin Chamber said the flooding risk posed by climate change and rising tides needed to be factored in to any decision affecting seafront infrastructure.

 

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

 

“While they wait, it must be galling for them to see Dublin councillors wasting taxpayers’ money by undoing work that has already been completed.”

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