herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Disputed sea wall can be lowered in some places, says expert report

The wall in Clontarf (Steve Humphreys)
The wall in Clontarf (Steve Humphreys)

the controversial Clontarf sea wall could be lowered in places - that's according to an independent expert drafted in to review.

Dr Jimmy Murphy has published his draft report on the sea wall, which has been compared to the "Berlin Wall" and a "prison wall" by locals.

Work stalled on the wall when a row erupted between residents and the council over a 460-metre stretch of the wall opposite St Anne's Park.

Residents have objected to the height of the wall at this point and the grey concrete finish, which the council has since agreed to review.

In his report, Mr Murphy said that while the 4.25- metre height of the wall was justified, given the design criteria the council were working under, it could be lowered at some points.

By using a different value for the predicted rise in sea levels the wall could be ­reduced while still acting as a sufficient flood barrier.

"This proposed adjustment of the wall's height should only be applied at locations where the visual amenity is most affected as agreed between DCC and local groups," Dr Murphy's report said.

However it cautions that if Dublin City Council (DCC) was to use this option, it would also have to commit to "frequently review" extreme water levels and sea levels and to have a plan in place for increasing the wall height if necessary.

The report also examines potential alternatives, but does not make recommendations.

Both glass panels at the top of the wall and de-mountable barriers could be suitable, but are subject to cost factors and a new planning process.

Flawed

The option of raising the road along that stretch is also included in the report, but it is noted that the council already considered that option and the €500,000 cost was deemed "impractical".

Dr Murphy said that he was unable to find a "clear, consistent design document" for the wall.

Local representative Finian McGrath believed that this supported his contention that the public-consultation process for the wall was flawed.

"On a positive note, Dr Murphy does see possibilities as regards rectifying the visual amenity situation," he said.

Dr Murphy is now due to meet with locals before publishing his final report.

DCC did not respond to queries on the report.

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