Call for funding for ‘devastated’ Kerry coastline

County has longest stretch of coastline in country, most of it vulnerable, council meeting hears

A screengrab of an interactive map of winds in the North Atlantic available at eath.nullschool.net

A screengrab of an interactive map of winds in the North Atlantic available at eath.nullschool.net

Mon, Jan 6, 2014, 14:58

Emergency intervention has been called for in Tralee, Co. Kerry following further overnight storms which a council meeting has heard “devastated” the Kerry coastline from Tarbert to Cahersiveen.

The county has the longest stretch of coastline in the country and most of it was “soft and vulnerable” the meeting heard.

The county manager in Kerry is to apply for special funding to the Department of the Environment.

Amongst the damage was the destruction of four blue flag beaches; two fairways on the world famous Ballybunion Golf course have been destroyed; Kells beach had been washed away and Rossbeigh had lost its tennis courts, car parks and playground and the road too has been all but destroyed.

1200 homes are without electricity .

A meeting of councillors in Tralee this morning has called for the situation in Kerry to be designated as an emergency requiring an emergency response.

Cllr John Brassil said Government funding was immediately required.

The clean-up and reinstatement costs would cost millions alone, he said.

Overnight the steel built sea rescue headquarters at Ballybunion was been damaged and up to 8ft of sand shifted from the south beach.

15 metre high swells broke close to the shore.

Tonnes of sand have been shifted onto the road near Ballyheigue

Rossbeigh spith lost 250 acres since St Stephen’s Day and the road has been practically washed away and the playground and tennis courts destroyed. A widening breach on the spit, first noted in 2008,has created flooding in low lying large areas from Cromane to Dooks with acres of landunderwater

Homes in Cromane have been flooded after the sea wall was again breached

Mid-Kerry had been “devastated” and the OPW needed to better maintain

river banks, Cllr Matt Griffin said.

In Kilorglin and Tralee homes and businesses had flooded. There were calls for better maintenance and better road design.

Culverts are blocked and the level of maintenance funding needed an

emergency top-up to deal with the situation, Cllr Danny Healy-Rae said.

Councillors criticised the focus on one part of Co. Clare in the national media and the lack of attention on Kerry where damage had been extensive.

There was criticism of the lack of Government response over the years for coastal protection works and of the silence of Government ministers with responsibility for the OPW and the Environment particularly. Cllr Cahill said their silence had been “deafening” .

County Manager Tom Curran said the county had the largest length of coastline in the country but there was little or no money nationally for coastal protection. Some years ago when it required €50 million to protect itself, only €2 million nationally had been allotted.

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