MIN­IS­TER SAYS: I’LL PRIORITISE FLOOD DE­FENCE

Min­is­ter Boxer Mo­ran pays a visit to Ark­low coastal works

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - FRONT PAGE - By DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

THE ur­gent need for coastal pro­tec­tion works at Ark­low’s North Beach was im­pressed upon Min­is­ter Kevin ‘Boxer’ Mo­ran while on a visit to the town yes­ter­day (Tues­day). The Min­is­ter of State for the Of­fice of Pub­lic Works met with lo­cal politi­cians and coun­cil of­fi­cials who ap­pealed for him to sanc­tion fund­ing for the works be­fore any more of the coast­line is eroded and homes and busi­nesses are put at risk of flood­ing. Depart­ment of­fi­cials are to meet with coun­cil staff in two weeks.

ARK­LOW has re­ceived a com­mit­ment from the Min­is­ter of State for the Of­fice of Pub­lic Works and Flood Re­lief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Mo­ran, that the ur­gently re­quired flood de­fence works on the North Beach will be the fo­cus of his depart­ment’s at­ten­tions.

Fol­low­ing a tour of the area, in some­what blus­tery and wet weather con­di­tions yes­ter­day (Tues­day), Min­is­ter Mo­ran was briefed by Ark­low Mu­nic­i­pal District and lo­cal politi­cians as to the ur­gent need for coastal pro­tec­tion works to be in­stalled.

Wick­low County Coun­cil en­gi­neer Robert Mul­hall out­lined the sit­u­a­tion to the Min­is­ter and up­dated him on var­i­ous un­suc­cess­ful at­tempts to se­cure fund­ing for the works, de­spite pre­vi­ous com­mit­ments from the Of­fice of Pub­lic Works.

It is un­der­stood that Depart­ment of­fi­cials will meet with lo­cal coun­cil of­fi­cials within two weeks in an at­tempt to progress mat­ters.

While no time­line or fund­ing fig­ure was agreed, lo­cal coun­cil­lor Pat Fitzger­ald said that, in his view, it was a pos­i­tive meet­ing.

‘I was very im­pressed with the Min­is­ter and he gave more com­mit­ment than I have heard pre­vi­ously. It was not about pol­i­tics and he said that he would like to see some­thing per­ma­nent done here in Ark­low,’ said Cllr Fitzger­ald.

‘I think ev­ery­one came away with the same opin­ion. The Min­is­ter was very well briefed on the sit­u­a­tion in Ark­low as well as the planned sewage treat­ment plant and he was very in­ter­ested to see the en­tire area which could be af­fected if flood de­fences are not in­stalled,’ he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Deputy Pat Casey, the works are badly needed and, along with pro­posed works at The Mur­rough in Wick­low town, would rep­re­sent ‘value for money’.

‘There is cross-party po­lit­i­cal agree­ment in Wick­low on the need for both towns to be up­graded and the pub­lic ex­pen­di­ture in­volved would rep­re­sent value for money as both Wick­low and Ark­low are im­por­tant ur­ban ar­eas with sig­nif­i­cant in­fra­struc­ture that needs pro­tec­tion. I am hope­ful that Min­is­ter Mo­ran will now be able to seek the sup­port that he needs from his col­leagues in Govern­ment. Both towns need to see ac­tion on this and I will be con­tin­u­ing to work with Min­is­ter Mo­ran and our Coun­cil­lors in Wick­low and Ark­low to en­sure thath this hi hap­pens,’ he said.

Mean­while, the en­gi­neer who de­signed the orig­i­nal North Beach coastal pro­tec­tion works 28 years ago, says that the present problems are caused be­cause the se­cond of two stages was never car­ried out.

Jimmy Byrne out­lined that the storm bar­rier which was in­stalled af­terf theh storm of f De­cem­ber 1989, was orig­i­nally meant to be fol­lowed by the in­stal­la­tion of a groyne 250 me­tres sea­ward from the shore of the beach.

‘Stage 2 was never con­structed be­cause the funds were not pro­vided by the rel­e­vant govern­ment depart­ment. A de­tailed study of the coastal pro­cesses p in Ark­low Bay was car­ried out in 1991 by the Dan­ish Hy­draulics In­sti­tute. This re­port em­pha­sised the ne­ces­sity to pre­vent ero­sion of sand from the North Beach and con­firmed such ero­sion could be pre­vented by con­struc­tion a groyne at the north end of the beach,’ he said.

Mr Byrne said that if the groyne is not con­structed, fur­ther ero­sion will un­der­mine the foun­da­tions of the works.

‘It will also re­sult in higher waves reach­ing the rock slope be­fore they break, thus caus­ing fur­ther dam­age to the works,’ he said.

Mr Byrne es­ti­mates that the groyne could be con­structed for a cost of €800,000 and, if pro­gressed in the im­me­di­ate fu­ture, could be com­pleted by Novem­ber 2019.

‘It is clear that ac­tion is needed in the near fu­ture if the fail­ure of the storm bar­rier is to be pre­vented. Why wait un­til fail­ure oc­curs and homes and busi­nesses are flooded? I be­lieve there is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion ei­ther so­cial or eco­nomic to post­pone what we know to be the so­lu­tion to the prob­lem.’

Min­is­ter of State for the Of­fice of Pub­lic Works and Flood Re­lief Kevin ‘Boxer’ Mo­ran in Ark­low yes­ter­day (Tues­day).

ABOVE: Min­is­ter Kevin ‘Boxer’ Mo­ran with Deputies John Brady, Pat Casey and Stephen Don­nelly at Ark­low’s North Beach. RIGHT: The beach in 1990.

Ark­low man Pat For­tune mak­ing his point to Min­is­ter Mo­ran, Deputy Pat Casey and Cllr Pat Fitzger­ald at Ark­low’s North Beach.

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