Friday 21 October 2016

Residents to meet expert on controversial sea wall

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.

Clontarf residents are this week due to meet the independent expert who has been engaged to review the disputed sea wall.

The wall, which has been compared to the Berlin Wall and a "prison wall" by locals, is being constructed as part of a €5m cycleway.

It is at its highest along a 500m stretch opposite St Anne's Park.


Locals have objected to the wall because it disrupts sea views and has a concrete finish, which the Dublin City Council (DCC) have since agreed to review.

Following protests, DCC stalled work at the contentious stretch and engaged Dr Jimmy Murphy, from University College Cork, to carry out an independent review.

As previously revealed in the Herald, Dr Murphy agreed that the wall could be lowered in some places by up to 20cm.

Residents and community groups have welcomed this assessment but still feel that the wall could be further reduced.

In a letter sent to the council, residents said the report was "comprehensive" given the terms of reference set out for the reviewer.

"We note that Dr Murphy is still including an arbitrary 300mm in additional safety margin in his calculations," the letter reads.

"We believe that this figure, in particular, provides considerable additional scope in terms of achieving a lower wall height in light of the fact that any damage, in the most unlikely event that the wall was over-topped, would be minimal."

The groups also want the report's scope to be expanded. They have requested that Dr Murphy examine the functioning of the Bull Island as a flood plain, as they fear that the sea wall could increase the risk of river flooding in the area.

Local groups will meet with Dr Murphy on Friday to discuss the report before it is finalised.

Independent TD Finian McGrath said that there is a "fierce determination" locally to see the matter finally resolved.


"I welcome any steps taken to broaden the terms of reference of Dr Jimmy Murphy's external review as it is evident this would allow scope for a further reduction in the sea wall height, allowing a restoration of the visual amenity while still providing sea flood defences," he said.

A spokesman for DCC said it would be "premature" to speculate on whether Friday's meeting will lead to Dr Murphy's report being expanded.

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