The Minister claims to be concerned by climate change, and coastal erosion, but actions speak louder than words

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien is failing coastal communities impacted by coastal erosion, according to Social Democrats Cllr. Paul Mulville.

In September 2020, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien announced the creation of the National Coastal Change Management Strategy Steering Group. The group was charged with considering how we can mitigate risks from rising sea levels, and coastal erosion, and was due to report to government within six months.

“At the time, the Minister said that as he himself comes from a constituency greatly impacted by coastal erosion, he understood the grave challenges it posed. The Minister may understand the challenge, but he has not prioritised it. Nearly a year after the steering group first met, it has yet to issue its report.

“In reply to a parliamentary question, from my colleague Deputy Cian O’Callaghan, Minister of State at the Dept of Housing Peter Burke, failed to indicate a firm date for when the steering group is likely to issue its report. He would only say that it will be “later this year”.

“This delay will be difficult to understand for residents in Portrane, some of whom have already lost their homes to coastal erosion with others in a race against time, and the tide, to save theirs. It is also difficult to understand for anyone concerned about climate change and how we can best mitigate against the risks it poses.

“This week, two new reports – the UN’s IPCC report and the Status of Ireland’s Climate report – warned of the danger posed by climate change and rising sea levels. This danger is particularly acute for coastal communities, who are being failed by the Minister and this government.

“Time is running out to act. The Minister claims to be concerned by climate change, and coastal erosion, but actions speak louder than words. Having specifically cited the hardship being endured by families in Portrane when he announced the creation of the steering group, the Minister should now explain to those families why the group’s report is so delayed and when we can expect to see it.”

13 August, 2021


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