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Families protest flood defence

HUNDREDS of protesters are expected to attend a rally against the Clontarf flood defence project which families fear will block their sea views.

Dublin City Council had been on the verge of awarding a contract to construct the 3km-long structure but has now delayed the move as it addresses public concerns.

Dubbed the 'Battle of Clontarf', the latest stage in the protest campaign will take place at Wooden Bridge on Sunday.

It comes as the council admitted it did not communicate properly with local people about its plans for the seaside area.

Residents from across the northside were aghast when they realised the extent of the proposals. The project makes provision for a series of earthen mounds and walls averaging almost two metres in height along the suburb's promenade, between Alfie Byrne Road and the Bull Wall.

The scheme, which has been approved by An Bord Pleanala, is to raise the level of the ground by up to 9ft in some places.

Residents say they only became aware of the designs in recent days, as the council prepared to sign contracts.

Both the Clontarf Residents' Association (CRA) and Clontarf Business Association (CBA) have been at the forefront of the protests.

"If implemented, the sea view in Clontarf will be eliminated," they said in a statement, adding that "pedestrians or joggers using the pathway close to the sea will not be able to see the road. Equally importantly, they will not be visible from the road which produces its own potential security risk. Protecting our homes and businesses from flooding is vital," they insisted.



upmarket

The CRA and the CBA were aware that these defences were being planned in the form of a mound or wall.

But they thought the height would be less than one metre.

The upmarket suburb is home to a string of well-known faces, including RTE's Joe Duffy, Fine Gael minister Richard Bruton, and former Fianna Fail senator Ivor Callely. The late Gerry Ryan grew up and lived locally until he split with his wife Morah, while Irish rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll and Marty Whelan are also natives.

Fine Gael councillor Gerry Breen told the Herald that City Manager John Tierney agreed that "nothing will happen" with the project between now and November 7. "The city council will go into consultation with the residents," he said.

He added that the local authority had "messed up" its communication strategy.

Initially, city chiefs defended themselves, saying residents were written to in advance of the planning phase and informed of the plans.

City engineers have allocated in the region of €9.7m for the overall water main project, with around €4m being spent on the defence system.

comurphy@herald.ie