Grant of €200k to fix vital sea wall ‘falls far short’

Cork County Council is to receive €200,000 from the Department of Transport to carry out emergency stability work on a collapsed sea wall in an East Cork town.

But the grant for repairs on Lighthouse Hill in Youghal was described by Helen Mulcahy, assistant town clerk, as “falling far short” of what was required to ensure the security and safety of the general area.

The 8m section of wall collapsed and plummeted 60m onto rocks on May 9 last. The area has since been fenced off.

The wall had been constructed of stone masonry and the collapsed section had measured over 14m, including a 1.4m parapet.

The collapse left brown sandy gravel exposed to the elements.

Emergency traffic lights, single lane traffic and a temporary pedestrian passageway have been installed along a narrow 60m stretch of the adjacent R364 roadway.

Two nearby viewing areas have also been fenced off in recent years amidst local concern that the general area is threatened by advancing coastal erosion.

The road links the town to the N25 and the front strand. Any collapse of its infrastructure would, besides the potential loss of life, pose immensely grave consequences for the town’s tourism and economy.

Last month, the OPW refused Cork County Council’s application for funding for remedial work, claiming the wall collapse resulted from ‘slope destabilisation’ rather than coastal erosion and so was beyond its remit.

Since then, the county council is understood to have sought joint funding from the OPW along with the departments of transport and environment.

Ms Mulcahy said the town council was “very concerned at the lack of funding” being made available amid the deteriorating condition of the area in question.

Her sentiments were echoed by Cork County Mayor Barbara Murray, also a town councillor in Youghal, who suggested “considerable restoration” was required.

“The county council is monitoring the area on a daily basis,” she said.


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