Fears have been expressed that a tourist town's best asset could be washed away.
Business leaders in Youghal, Co Cork have told county councillors something needs to be done about the protective groynes on beaches which are almost completely gone.
Youghal Chamber spokesman, Diarmaid Keogh, said they were originally installed along the coastline in late 1800s along with the opening of the railway, which fed the Victorian obsession for the seaside.
"The groynes interrupt wave action and protect the beach from being washed away by longshore drift. They prevent undermining of the promenade, seawall and protective sand dunes," Mr Keogh said.
He urged members of the East Cork Municipal District Council to commission a 'Beach Management Plan' "to safeguard our most valuable asset".
The business group carried out an audit of the town and identified a number of needs and opportunities.
Mr Keogh said to their "embarrassment our beach facilities are still of third world standard".
He said the proposed lifeguard and toilet block at the end of the promenade is massively needed would be very welcome when completed.
"Our busiest beach is Claycastle, where similar facilities must be provided for the tens of thousands of visitors that descend on this 5km of sandy beach every summer. The current toilet block there is completely antiquated and inaccessible," he said.
Mr Keogh pointed out that the Youghal Main Drainage Scheme is now operational.
He said the previous lack of it was highlighted as a major weakness to the town securing industrial investment in the past.
"We have identified the need for more imagery, infographics, video content and case studies for Youghal which would enable the IDA staff to sell the town more effectively to potential employers," he said.
Mr Keogh said there should be increased focus on targeting smaller Foreign Direct Investment Companies through the IDA’s Emerging Businesses Division and existing companies should be encouraged to locate satellite operations in the town.