Protecting Sandymount Strand

 

Sir, – I have followed the debate about possibly reclaiming Sandymount Strand for housing development with a mixture of amusement and bewilderment. I grew up and now live directly in front of the strand, so I have seen it in all its moods, from the expanse of dry sand as far as the eye can see, the incredible sun rise, the summer high tides, sometimes completely still, to the wild high tides of winter.

Sandymount Strand is first and foremost a unique recreational amenity, available for anyone who wants to use it: it is free, and costs nothing to maintain. I don’t know of any European city that has an expanse of strand like it only a few kilometres from its city centre. I would draw a very clear line between the industrial port area and the strand.

Unfortunately the strand is surrounded by examples of bad planning. We forget that what is now “Irishtown Nature Park” was originally the city dump, through the 1960/1970s Dublin Corporation was determined to push the dump as far onto the strand as they could (while denying it was happening). It took the High Court to stop it. Then there were moves to build a motorway across it.

I have every sympathy with the motorists stuck in traffic jams on Strand Road at peak times. Surely a tunnel under the strand is the answer to this? If we managed to construct the port tunnel under large parts of the northside of the city, I wonder what problems would a tunnel under a beach cause?

The problems with the recent sewage “overflows” are a joke, the engineers report the system “did what it was designed to do”.

The housing and planning issues raised by David Browne (RIAI) are valid, but the fact he didn’t mention the Phoenix Park for example (which after all is a vast open space in the heart of Dublin) shows the RIAI does not view Sandymount Strand as an amenity, rather an extension of the port area for development. It is not, and should never be. – Yours, etc,

DAVID BRADSHAW,

Sandymount, Dublin 4.