Clontarf sea wall ‘would not be built on southside’
Dublin City Council holds meeting in effort to find resolution to debate over flood defence
The coast road towards Clontarf, the location of the proposed sea wall. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
The Clontarf sea wall would not be built if it was on the southside, a special meeting of Dublin City Council heard on Wednesday night.
Councillors held a full session of the local authority on Wednesday night, outside of their normal schedule of meetings on the first Monday of each month.
A protest group of local residents called “Stop the Sea Wall” held a demonstration in Clontarf on Wednesday morning.
The meeting was held to discuss and find a resolution to the ongoing issue of the construction of a flood defence wall opposite St Anne’s Park.
The wall is being built as part of a €5 million 2km cycle path from the Wooden Bridge to Causeway Road. It will leave motorists with “significantly restricted views” of Bull Island nature sanctuary and the coast, but the footpath and cycleway will be built up so the wall is never higher than one metre from the ground.
Fianna Fáil councillor Seán Haughey said public consultation on the sea wall was inadequate and that people “didn’t know such a high wall was going to be built.”
He said the wall is an “ugly monstrosity” that will attract graffiti.
“Would such a wall have been built in South Dublin? I think not,” Mr Haughey said.
The wall is part of Dublin City Council plans to have a continuous cycle path running from Sutton to Sandycove.
Dublin City Council has agreed to alter the wall in an attempt to improve relations with local residents.
Residents have objected to the appearance of the new poured concrete wall under construction in sections along the coast.
They have also objected to its height, which they say is considerably greater than they had expected.
The council has said it cannot change the height of the wall, which will be one metre above footpath level at its highest point, because of the conditions set down by the Office of Public Works to prevent flooding.
However, it has agreed to alter the appearance of the wall so it blends more into the surrounding landscape and the existing old stone wall.
Cllr Damian O’Farrell told the meeting it was important to protect the biosphere in Clontarf.
Cllr Brendan Carr called on Dublin City Council to commit that any future flood defence plans will engage with the local community and that it would protect the biosphere in accordance with Unseco guidelines.
Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe said the protest against the Clontarf sea wall showed the flawed nature of the consultation process.
“If there is a problem in infrastructure we throw concrete at it, we need to move beyond concrete and think of other materials or ideas,” he said.
Labour councillor Jane Horgan Jones said Minister of State Aodhán Ó Riordáin has asked Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly for a review of the part eight process “as it is out of date and needs to be improved in light of new technology”.
People Before Profit councillor John Lyons said the top part of the wall should be made of glass so motorists can see over it.
City Manager Owen Keegan said any building work of the wall is fully compliant with part eight requirements and there was no attempt to mislead the public about the wall.
A motion calling on the Chief Executive of Dublin City Council Owen Keegan to commit to implementing all planning conditions as well as engaging with all stakeholders on flood defence issues was passed unanimously.
The motion also included a commitment to reverse any building to date that do not fulfil planning requirements.