Dublin councillors vote to spend €500,000 lowering sea wall despite objections

Council officials had warned that there will be a cost for raising the Clontarf wall again in the future

Dublin councillors vote to spend €500,000 lowering sea wall despite objections

Sea wall in Clontarf. Image: Nicole Gernon

Around €500,000 is to be spent lowering a newly-built sea wall in Clontarf in Dublin - despite warnings that it will need to be raised again in the future.

Councillors voted for the measure last night after complaints that the wall blocked sea views for motorists.

The dispute centres on a 500m section of the wall near St Anne's Park.

It will now be lowered by up to 30cm, after the vote was carried by 34 votes to 21. 

However, the reduction means the wall will not meet national flood protection standards and will therefore have to be raised at some point in the future.

In a report on the proposed changes, the council's Chief Executive Owen Keegan warned: "Reducing the height of the sea wall would be contrary to the recommendations of Dublin Coastal Flood Protection Project and will result in the sea wall not meeting the required level of flood defence specified in the national standard for flood defence schemes.

"In addition, there will also be a cost for raising the wall at some future date, in line with the recommendations of the independent expert. The reduction in the height of the sea wall will however provide a marginal improvement in sea views for motorists." 

Ahead of yesterday's vote, the proposed changes drew a mixed response from members of the public - some residents and groups welcomed the proposed lowering, while others objected to "apparently frivolous works".

One individual argued that they "did not understand why the Council should be concerned with the view of motorists, as they should be looking at the road".

The changes are set to cost up to €230,000 to reduce the height of the sea wall, as well as €300,000 for cladding. 

Image: Dublin City Council

"A lot of people are going to get their feet wet"

Green Party Cllr Ciaran Cuffe, who voted against lowering the wall, says we have to plan for the future.

He argued: "I've seen sea surges in Dublin Bay, flooding in East Wall in Sandymount, and indeed on the north coast. I think we need [the wall].

"The evidence from Dublin is saying the sea levels are actually rising year on year - somewhere between half a centimetre and a centimetre a year. If we don't do something, a lot of people are going to get their feet wet."

Solidarity Cllr Michael O'Brien observed: "The council ultimately won't be thanked for reducing flood protections to below nationally recommended standards."

Local TD and Education Minister Richard Bruton said he understands that the Council initially agreed flooding defence for 200-year protection - but that is now set to be lowered to 100-year protection.

"That was the basis on which they entered this agreement with residents," he noted.

However, The Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, warned Dublin city councillors they will bear the consequences if they move forward with the plan.

Speaking to East Coast FM, Minister Moran criticised the decision, arguing: "When I hear someone saying they want to lower a wall by a couple of millimetres so as people can see into the sea, that's absolutely ludicrous."

Reporting by Nicole Gernon and Stephen McNeice