JCB driver Brendan Cahill helps to fill sand bags. Picture: Una Williams

The people of Portrane have showed true community spirit in recent weeks working together to combat the issue of coastal erosion.
The erosion has plagued the town’s coastline for decades and, despite numerous efforts by the local community in recent years, residents took to the coast once again last week in another bid to prevent further damage.

Short-term solution
On Saturday, February 16, local residents and representatives began remedial works in an effort to provide a short-term solution to the increasingly dangerous problem.
Armed with sandbags and with the help of machinery, the residents began to build a wall to help prevent immediate and future erosion.
“We know Fingal County Council are doing what they can at the moment, but we were in a situation where we couldn’t wait any longer and had to make some kind of effort to save what is left,” explained Raymond Brett, a local resident and chair of the Burrows Residents Association.
“We had the goodwill of some local men who gave us the use of a JCB and other machinery, as well as some of the politicians who helped source a ton of empty bags.
“But as a community, we have done a lot off our own bat and with our own money.
“Over the last 10 to 12 years we’ve been trying to put in measures to stop the erosion but Mother Nature has taken over.
“The sandbags aren’t a permanent measure – they’re an interim measure to help stop any further erosion,” he said.
Local Swords Councillor Darragh Butler (FF) said he is urging people to help at the next organised effort.
“I applaud everyone who turned out and I urge people to come out and help on the next occasion too.
“It seemed to go very well on the day, there was a good turnout and they got a lot done, but it is going to take many more weeks,” he said.
“It isn’t something that can be achieved in just two or three weekends and it is only a short-term solution to provide immediate cover to stop the bank being breached.”
According to Raymond, the project is down to the goodwill of the community.
“It’s frustrating but we’ve always done it. We always get our hands dirty to get the job done. The next date is to be confirmed, but we hope more people will come out and help us,” he said.