Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns met with a group of concerned north Dublin residents this weekend to see first-hand the devastation caused by ongoing coastal erosion in their area.

The meeting took place on Portrane Beach, where coastal erosion has caused extensive damage to the dunes system and is posing a serious threat to several homes in the area.

Deputy Cairns was accompanied by the party’s European Elections candidate in Dublin, Sinéad Gibney, and Cllr Paul Mulville, who lives in the area and has been campaigning on the issue on behalf of local residents.

Cllr Mulville, who is a candidate in Rush-Lusk in the local elections, said:

“As somebody who has lived beside this beach all my life, I have witnessed the gradual encroachment of the sea beyond the boundaries of local properties. Some gardens have disappeared altogether, while in one case a home had to be demolished for fear it would also fall into the sea.

“Despite temporary Seabee blocks being put in place in 2018, this has only slowed down the pace of erosion and a more permanent defence system is needed.

“In 2020, consultants RPS proposed the installation of Sea Groynes to the Coastal Liaison Group as a long-term solution to the problem. Just before Christmas, residents were informed that the scheme had been submitted to the new Maritime Area Regulatory Authority, with a 90-day decision period.

“However, last month it transpired that the application had not in fact been submitted and was only a pre-application discussion. This means that any submission to An Bord Pleanála for a coastal protection scheme will be held up again.

“Local people are deeply frustrated and angered by these ongoing delays. I am now calling on Fingal County Council and Minister Darragh O’Brien, who is a TD for this area, to sit down with residents to clarify the up-to-date position and provide clear timelines for the proposed scheme.”

Speaking in Portrane, Sinéad Gibney said:

“In Dublin, we are blessed with a stunning coastline that stretches from north Fingal to Wicklow. However, as we have seen in Portrane today, we are failing to look after it.

“Coastal erosion is just one of the existential threats to Ireland caused by climate change. This is why we need a strong Social Democrat voice in Europe to drive initiatives to address climate change and deliver supports for local communities.”

After meeting with local residents, Holly Cairns said:

“What I witnessed in Portrane today was truly shocking. Climate change and extreme weather events not only damage biodiversity and nature but pose a very real threat to people’s lives and homes.

“The residents I spoke to fear that even in a best case scenario, it could be as late as 2027 before permanent measures are put in place to protect their homes.

“Those living in properties most at risk understandably feel they are in a race against time. They must be listened to by the Government and Fingal County Council and provided with an immediate update on the status of the proposed coastal protection works.”

April 7, 2024

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