Flood defence plan protest held

 

A protest meeting attended by over 3,000 people took place earlier today in Clontarf in Dublin against the construction of flood defences that would threaten views along the promenade.

Local residents claim that they were never properly consulted about the proposed earthen embankments and walls, which would extend 3km from Alfie Byrne Road to the Bull Wall.

Apart from obstructing sea views, residents also raised concerns about security risks due to walkways that would be invisible from the road.

“This ludicrous project pales on many fronts, security, tourism, business and sea views. If it were to go ahead it would be an irretrievable eyesore and a blight on the area for generations,” said Deirdre Tobin of the Clontarf Residents Association.

The protest was organised by the local residents and business associations and supported by the five Dublin City Councillors in the area. Four TDs - government minister Richard Bruton of Fine Gael, Independent Mattie McGrath and Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Kevin Humphreys - also attended the protest.

Mr Bruton said that he was “bitterly disappointed” by the manner in which the proposal was handled, particularly the lack of consultation by Dublin City Council with local representatives.

He added that he had raised the issue with Minister of State for the Office of Public Works Brian Hayes.

Mr Ó Ríordáin said that the lack of consultation was a threat to democracy but that the large numbers present was a good sign for the future of the campaign.

“This plan also threatens the very democracy at the heart of city council where we ask for a clear consultation process.

“The last time I stood here addressing a group of people this large was at the head shop protest – we won that battle and we are certainly going to win this one,” he said.

The proposed scheme was designed to prevent further flood damage to homes and businesses along the seafront, and to carry a new arterial water main. The area was badly hit by an “extreme tidal event” in February 2002 and a less severe one in October 2004.

Several weak points in the existing flood defences allowed a “deluge of water” onto Clontarf Road and flooded a number of properties. As a result, Dublin City Council decided that flood alleviation measures were required to protect this important stretch of coastline.