Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow and East Carlow Stephen Donnelly is to meet with Minister for OPW Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran next week to raise the need for urgent repairs to Wicklow’s coastal defences.
Wicklow County Council commissioned a report last year on the condition of flood protection measures. The report identified increasing problems in the North Beach defences at Arklow, and the Murrough at Wicklow Town.
Since then, three applications for repairs made by the Council have been unsuccessful.
“The coastal defences at the North Beach are badly in need of repairs,” Mr Donnelly said. “I am informed that there is significant risk to human safety, with large boulders being washed over the existing structure onto the public walkway behind it.”
Mr Donnelly also said there was a risk of flooding to a number of homes. He added, in reference to the rejected applications, that a new approach was needed.”
“A more detailed coastal erosion risk management study is needed to address the risks the town faces. I will be calling on the Minister to support this proposal.
“With this in place, a greater project, including improvements to the rock armour and return of the beach to its previous condition is needed,” Mr Donnelly said.
Mr Donnelly also said the Murrough area, stretching from Wicklow Town as far as Greystones, has been plagued by constant erosion in recent years, particularly as a result of Winter storms.
The Murrough is the largest coastal wetland complex on the East Coast and is a wildlife haven and area of natural heritage. Mr Donnelly said it is an amazing resource for the entire county and it must be protected.
He added: “Works have been conducted by both Wicklow County Council and Irish Rail in recent years to repair the worst of the damage, but what is needed now is a plan to return the wetland to its original state and keep it that way.
“Both Storm Ophelia and Brian caused further damage to the Murrough, with up to a metre of the coastal area washed away by the sea in places. We cannot have this situation continue.”