Hilltop residents in Kerry, whose vehicular access was cut off after a road slippage last week, can move out of their homes temporarily.
The Cliff Road, overlooking Rossbeigh beach, collapsed last week, and families in 17 houses, eight of which are permanent homes, have no car access. Telephone poles and lines were left hanging over the cliff and some houses were within 300m of the slippage.
Kerry County Council officials met with householders in Glenbeigh on Wednesday and offered to facilitate a temporary move, including paying rental costs, until a solution could be found.
The council has applied for emergency funding of €500,000 to the Department of Transport to provide alternative access. Council engineers are continuing to assess the damage.
Timmy O’Sullivan, a father of three who owns Kerry Couriers, and whose family have lived in the area for 100 years, said relocating was not a solution. No-one could afford to heat two houses, he said.
His aunt, seriously ill and also living on the clifftop, also does not wish to move.
“A long-term solution is needed here, because other houses and roads will be vulnerable, too,” he said. “Rock armour is the only way to go.”
His children aged 5, 7, and 10, walk more than 1km to the family car before being taken to school. Their father said they “got soaking wet” several times this week.
The panoramic Cliff Road area, overlooking the blue-flag strand and Dingle Bay, has a mix of residential and holiday homes. Locals had been sounding warning bells for some time about the threat of erosion from a combination of waves, at the base of the cliff, along with winds and frost. Heavy rainfall reportedly caused the latest collapse.
Local county councillor Michael Cahill said he had, for some years, urged the OPW to address the issue of coastal erosion. However, his requests had not been taken seriously, he claimed.
“Rock armour is the only solution,” Mr Cahill said. “In fairness, the council are doing what they can, but the OPW need to step up and overall funding of €5m is needed.”
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