County councillors seek sand dune survey after death

Tue, Jun 26, 2012, 01:00

Kerry County Council has moved to reassure the public that most of the county’s sand dunes are stable, but warned that dunes by their nature are “fluid” and can shift.

The authorities in Kerry are being asked to survey miles of Kerry’s protected dunes to assess potential danger after the death of Cork student Niamh McCarthy (19) recently in an incident on the Maharees on the Dingle peninsula. Two Independent councillors, Michael Cahill and Brendan Cronin, are seeking a survey of all the dunes to ensure any danger areas are signposted or fenced off and that protection works are carried out to prevent further deaths.

Much of the vast Kerry coastline is soft or subject to erosion and landslides. The Dingle peninsula in particular has seen dramatic landslides and collapses in recent years. Part of the Slea Head road slipped into the sea in 2007. The Inch area has also suffered badly, needing hundreds of thousands of euro in protection works to secure the road.

An Office of Public Works report said the Kerry coast had up to 80km of sand dunes. “The vast area of sand dunes are stable and not prone to sudden movements,” it stated. The council has ruled out a survey because of “feasibility”, but the councillors are to press the matter with the OPW.