Monday 24 October 2016

Deluge of complaints for council's 'Berlin Wall on the Clontarf Road'


The flood protection wall being constructed along the Clontarf Road at St. Annes Park.
The flood protection wall being constructed along the Clontarf Road at St. Annes Park.

Residents complaining about the controversial Clontarf sea wall have compared it to the "Berlin Wall", a "prison wall" and a "communist-style" wall.

The Herald can reveal that Dublin City Council (DCC) received more than 80 complaints about the wall in a three-week period last November.

Many of the complaints were addressed to city manager Owen Keegan, with two residents calling on him to consider resigning over the matter.

Work on the wall is stalled as an independent review is being carried out by Dr Jimmy Murphy, of University College Cork, after coastal residents on the northside expressed their anger at the construction.

The wall is at its highest along a 460m-stretch opposite St Anne's Park in Raheny, and it is this portion that has caused the most outrage.

Residents are angry at the concrete finish on the wall and the fact that it blocks sea views for drivers and wheelchair users along that stretch.

Copies of the complaints were released to this newspaper under Freedom of Information laws.


Included in the deluge of objections sent to the council are descriptions of the wall as an "eyesore", "a monstrosity of the highest proportions" and "over-the-top and unnecessary".

One complainant fears that it will have "catastrophic consequences" for the bay area.

"I'm so lost for words at the sight of this Berlin Wall on the Clontarf Road," one of the objections reads.

Many irate residents raised concerns that they were not properly informed about what the finished wall would look like.

"If the information was clear when planning permission was sought, there would have been too many complaints from the local community to go ahead," wrote one person.

The council have previously defended this claim by referring to a public consultation process that was held ahead of the work getting the green light.

However, when the scale of the wall became clear locals staged protests at the site and outside City Hall.

Among the complaints was a letter of objection with more than 1,000 signatures.

The strength of feeling locally about the wall can be traced in the dozens of emails and letters sent to the council.

"People feel Dublin City Council, led by Mr Owen Keegan, are determined to destroy an iconic Dublin city view," one objector said.


"This is a horrendous site and will turn the whole seafront on this section of the coastline into a concrete jungle," wrote another.

Meanwhile, another person who penned an objection urged Mr Keegan to pay heed to the "You should have gone to Specsavers" slogan when he considered the project.

"If such construction goes ahead, will it only be a matter of time before it occurs in Dun Laoghaire, Sandymount and Sandycove," queried another.

One local said that they have used the walkway countless times, including to bring their disabled daughter for walks.

Another resident predicted that the wall "will become in time a quarter mile of graffiti".

Several people urged the council to use the transparent flood defences used along the quays in Waterford city.


DCC have said that this will be too costly and that the glass defences may not be suitable. However, this option will be included in the independent review.

Independent TD Finian McGrath said that he is convinced a compromise can be found in relation to the problematic section of the wall.

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